A collective study lab

ERC Inhabiting Radical Housing, the project behind the Beyond Inhabitation Lab

In late 2019, Professor Lancione was awarded the prestigious European Research Council Starting Grant (1.5 million euros over 5 years), for his project ‘Inhabiting Radical Housing: Cities and the global fight against housing precarity‘.

At that time Professor Lancione was based at the Urban Institute, University of Sheffield, to which he is extremely grateful for the support he received during the application process and for his time there. The grant wouldn’t have materialised without the intellectual and logist support offered by the Urban Institute and by the Faculty of Social Science at Sheffield.

Due to major life-changing personal events, Professor Lancione paused the project and then relocated to Italy (where he was born), at the DIST, Polytechnic of Turin, in April 2021. There, he started the complex procedures to set up his international team of researchers and, together with AbdouMaliq Simone, they devised the Beyond Inhabitation Lab.

For the most, the Core Team of the Lab is comprised of researchers working full time on Professor Lancione’s ERC project, which is also informing the scope and ambition of the collective study undertaken through the Lab.

Below you can find a short blur of the ERC project. Major deliverables will be announced through the Lab’s blog.

Inhabiting Radical Housing: Cities and the global fight against housing precarity

European Research Council Starting Grant

PI – Professor Michele Lancione (complete profile, here)
Host institutionDIST, Polytechnic of Turin, Italy
Grant agreement ID – 851940
Duration – 1st Sept 2020 to 30th Aug 2025

According to UN-Habitat, each year millions of people face forced eviction from their homes, while a staggering 1.6 billion are inadequately housed. Forecasts suggest housing precarity will continue to grow in future, worldwide. In response, grassroots housing movements are becoming increasingly common. Crucially, these groups fight for more than just housing, often advancing critiques of wider societal inequalities. Yet little is known of the broader significance of these struggles, and research has failed to offer an understanding of geographically dispersed movements. The ways in which the fight for the right to housing operates is essential to understand contemporary urban life. RadicalHOUSING will fill these critical gaps through an innovative Radical Housing Approach and pioneering empirical research at a global scale.

First, the project identifies the importance of a historical understanding of dwelling precarity, to appreciate the relevance of housing struggles worldwide (Objective I). Second, it investigates and profiles prominent grassroots networks in the Americas, Europe, Africa, and Asia to analyse their goals and organisational culture (Objective II). To appreciate the wider significance of radical housing resistance, the project deploys an ambitious ethnographic encounter with grassroots struggles in eight emblematic cities (Objective III). It then brings selected participants and experts together in a Global Forum of Radical Housing, fostering the exchange of peer-to-peer knowledge to generate further findings (Objective IV). Finally, the project will gather these insights into an innovative critical comparative framework, which will lead to agenda-setting publications, interventions, and academic scholarship (Objective V).

RadicalHOUSING is a ground-breaking project that will contribute to housing, urban and geographical studies, as well as to grassroots knowledge, opening a new phase in understanding the global fight against housing precarity.