Policy dilemmas concerning informal Roma settlements: regeneration or desegregation?

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Despite a consensus on a need to tackle the problem of inadequate housing conditions of many Roma, to improve Roma’s access to affordable housing and to actively involve Roma into the design and implementation of policies aimed at Roma equality and inclusion, there is an ongoing tension between two objectives and approaches.

On one hand, the focus on improvement of Roma’s living conditions and regeneration of existing Roma settlements – often “informal” (with unsettled legal relation to the land use and illegal status of at least part of existing dwellings) and more or less segregated (inhabited only by Roma and often separated or remote from the mainstream population).

And on the other hand, active desegregation as part of a more ambitious inclusion aim, sometimes reduced to simple relocation of Roma into ethnically and socially mixed settings – an approach often questioned as unrealistic, politically costly, long-term, and allegedly conflicting with preferences of the targeted communities. The session investigates the opportunities and limitations of the two approaches and their potential reconciliation.

Moderator: Marek Hojsik – Central European University’s Democracy Institute (Hungary) and Charles University (Czechia)

Speakers:

  • Bogdan Suditu – University of Bucharest (Romania)
  • Boyan Zahariev – Programme Director at Open Society Institute (Bulgaria)
  • Eszter Somogyi – Metropolitan Research Institute (Hungary)