Housing in the European Countryside: Rural Pressure and Policy in Western Europe

Housing in the European Countryside: Rural Pressure and Policy in Western Europe

Housing in the European Countryside: Rural Pressure and Policy in Western Europe

Housing in the European Countryside: Rural Pressure and Policy in Western Europe

Excerpt

This collection of national overviews of rural housing pressure and housing policy in Europe began life in 2000 as a study of European responses to the problems of living - or more specifically gaining access to suitable housing - within the European countryside. The study was commissioned by Scottish Homes and the research team comprised Mark Shucksmith, Mark Tewdwr-Jones and Nick Gallent. The intention, quite simply, was to see how other countries deal with housing pressure, how they define this pressure and how effective local and national strategies have been utilised in improving the lot of those residing in non-metropolitan areas.

The project was essentially a fact-finding mission with an extremely tight schedule: the original attempt to secure written contributions yielded just five chapters, with two of these drawn from the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom. But even from this small sample, it was clear that different countries in Europe have wildly differing takes on rural housing problems and the necessary responses. At the most basic level, there is very little general agreement on what constitutes housing pressure or a clear problem requiring some form of redress. To some, in-migration is a threat to the stability of rural communities; to others it is an opportunity or lifeline to be grasped. Conversely, out-migration is viewed in some areas and regions as part of the natural ebb and flow of people affecting all of Europe; elsewhere, it represents damaging change that must be stemmed at all costs.

This book expands the original research report to Scottish Homes by increasing the original five contributions to ten. The book has two aims. First, it attempts to provide an overview of the housing pressures and policy challenges facing Europe, while highlighting critical differences. Second, it offers an introduction to housing issues across the European countryside for those who have hitherto been unexposed to such concerns, but who wish to gain some basic insight.

There are many causes of housing pressure in rural areas. Changing demographics and migration, cultural and societal attitudes towards rural and urban living and property acquisition, land use planning regulatory controls, the

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