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Accepted Paper:

"The land of the freedom". Coping strategies and financial precarity in a peri urban allotment garden of Budapest  
András Vigvári (Centre for Economic and Regional Studies)

Paper short abstract:

In Hungary, after the 2008 debt crisis, former allotment gardens became a housing target destination of the financial precariat. In spite of precarious housing conditions, allotments enable affordable housing and self-sufficient/reciprocal practises, which mitigate various social risks.

Paper long abstract:

Three decades after the postsocialist transition, precarious housing is one of the most desperate social problems in Hungary. In Hungary it is not only the poorest social strata, whose access to housing is highly limited, but many segments of the lower middle class as well. The real estate boom of the early 2000s and the credit crunch after the GFC made it even more difficult for dwellers to find affordable housing, because many of them faced difficulties in repaying mortgages.

The trajectory of many members of the declining lower middle-class lead to former socialist allotment gardens around the cities and towns of Hungary, where rampant housing exclusion force people to adjust with sophisticated survival strategies in order to ensure access to some forms of housing. Allotments, which are formally registered as rural areas, but are situated on the outskirts of urban settlements, became an attractive housing destination for those in financial precarity; especially for those who had lost their former dwellings during the foreclosures.

On the one hand, allotment gardens provide extremely precarious housing condition without basic infrastructures and amidst extreme physical exclusion. On the other hand, allotments offer affordable housing, where housing disadvantages are mitigated by self-sufficient and reciprocal practices, and dwellers can restart their housing pathways after the shock of foreclosures. In my presentation I attempt to show this duality demonstrating the perceptions and everyday practices of dwellers based on my field work conducted in a peri-urban area of Budapest.

Panel Res02b
Between governance and resistance: coping with financial precarity and (over)indebtedness II
  Session 1 Wednesday 23 June, 2021, -