The Future of Housing: Resilient Property Approaches to Housing, The Environment and Property: Dialogue about Shared Problems and Starting Points

by Marc L. Roark

image of colorful multilevel apartments
Image via Pixabay

For two days, scholars from law, history, environmental justice, geography, and sociology gathered in Oñati, Spain at the International Institute for the Sociology of Law to explore how housing problems that become complicated by property systems, environment and energy challenges, and politics may be approached.  Starting from the view that these problems are often “wicked” with no universal defining point, the discussants worked to find common approaches to advance the problems beyond their ideological frames.

A primary theme of the discussion was finding pathways to solve problems from the material realities on the ground, considering the unique normative place that property plays in each jurisdiction. The workshop featured discussions around vulnerability theory, engaging in how embodied vulnerability is ubiquitous and asking how assets of resilience emerge in housing solutions.   Observing the role of property and housing as assets of resilience, the workshop keyed in on how an active state navigates the legal limits of property to solve pressing that impact all persons, including climate, environment, shelter and disaster relief.

The discussants came from 8 countries, including Spain, the United States, Germany, Canada, Israel, Ireland, England, Scotland, The Netherlands, Chile, South Africa, and Australia, working in Universities, Law Reform, and for NGOs.  Participants in the workshop were Bram Akkermans (Maastricht University, The Netherlands), Koldo Casla (University of Essex, U.K.), Rashmi Dyal-Chand (Northeastern University, U.S.), Alexandra Flynn (University of British Columbia, Canada), Diego Gil (Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, Chile),  Amnon Lehavi (Reichman University, Israel), John Lovett (Loyola University New Orleans, U.S.), Robin Paul Malloy (Syracuse University, U.S.), Gustav Muller (Pretoria University, Republic of South Africa), Sergio Nassare Azner (Universitat Rovira I Virilli, Spain), Chris Odinet (University of Iowa, U.S.), Kate O’Reilly (University of Maastricht, The Netherlands), Jessica Owley (University of Miami, U.S.),  Jacob Remes (NYU, U.S.), Jill Robbie (Glasgow University, Scotland), Samuel Tyrer (Monash University & Australian Law Reform Commission, Australia), Sue-Mari Viloen (University of the Western Cape, Republic of South Africa), Elsabe van der Sijde (Stellenbosch University, Republic of South Africa, & Amnesty International), Rachael Walsh (Trinity University, Ireland), Lua Kamál Yuille (Northeastern University, U.S.). Prior vulnerability fellows Marc Roark and Lua Kamàl Yuille were a part of the program.

The workshop was convened and organized by Lorna Fox O’Mahony (University of Essex, UK), and Marc L. Roark (University of Tulsa, U.S.) and was built around themes, methods and theories explored in their book Squatting and the State: Resilient Property in an Age of Crisis (Cambridge University Press 2022). The workshop will produce an edited volume considering the way method interacts with applied analysis of problems.

The International Institute for the Sociology of Law (IISL) in Oñati is the only international establishment which is entirely devoted to teaching and promoting the sociology of law, socio-legal studies, and law and society research. The IISL is a joint venture of the Research Committee on Sociology of Law (also known as RC12 of the International Sociological Association) and the government of the Basque autonomous region in Spain. It is situated (since 1989) in the University of Oñati (the Ancient University of the Basque Country) in Oñati. Selection of workshops are a competitive process where applicants propose programs specific to the exploration of sociology and law.

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