Navigation – Plan du site

AccueilNuméros7Changements et dynamiques récente...Vacancy, access to housing and mi...

Changements et dynamiques récentes des pratiques habitatives dans les métropoles de l’Europe du Sud

Vacancy, access to housing and micro‑segregation

Exploring the fragmented geographies of inhabitation in Athens
Vacance, accès au logement et micro-ségrégation dans la ville d’après-crise : exploration des géographies fragmentées de l’habitat à Athènes
Ifigeneia Dimitrakou
p. 43-66


Cet article contribue à une meilleure compréhension des dimensions contextuelles de l’inoccupation et de la relation entre l’offre excédentaire de logements et les modèles d’inégalité socio-spatiale. S’appuyant sur une étude qualitative menée entre 2016 et 2019 dans un quartier central d’Athènes, l’analyse aborde deux questions enchevêtrées : les facteurs contextuels qui donnent lieu à divers modèles spatiaux et temporels d’inoccupation et leur lien avec les modèles de ségrégation existants, ainsi que le remodelage des deux dans les années qui ont suivi la crise de 2008. En examinant les micro-géographies de l’habitation, l’analyse montre comment les pratiques de logement intégrées dans le régime de logement local, la précarité croissante du logement et les dynamiques de réutilisation émergentes façonnent les modèles fragmentés d’inoccupation présents dans le centre d’Athènes. L’article conclut que la façon dont les régimes de logement et de propriété sont pratiqués façonne de manière cruciale les modalités d’accès à l’inoccupation et à la ségrégation sur place. Il souligne ainsi la nécessité de placer l’inoccupation dans des débats plus larges sur l’accès au logement et l’exclusion dans les villes.

Haut de page

Notes de l’auteur

I would like to thank the research participants in Athens for their engagement, time, and support. Further, I thank the editors of the special issue Iris Polyzou, Dominique Rivière and Thomas Maloutas and the two anonymous reviewers for their constructive suggestions for improving this manuscript.

Texte intégral


  • 1 Balemi, Füss, Weigand 2021.
  • 2 Rogers, Power 2020.
  • 3 Benjamin, Dillette, Alderman 2020.
  • 4 Graziani et al. 2020.
  • 5 Dewar, Thomas 2013.
  • 6 Haase et al. 2014.
  • 7 Notable exception O’Callaghan 2018.
  • 8 O’Callaghan, Di Feliciantonio, Byrne 2018.

1Over the last two consecutive global crises (2008, 2020), the fragility of property markets materialized in growing housing surpluses1 on the one hand, and the rising levels of housing precarity amongst low-income households2 on the other, have put the vacancy question on the forefront of urban debates3 and housing activism.4 Although this timely contradiction is present in cities and housing systems across the globe, urban research, and policy debates tend to reduce vacancy into an output of the markets’ function or frame vacancy as an urban “problem” tied to specific urbanization patterns associated with post-Fordist societies and cities. It is a characteristic of relevant academic debates that declined rust‑belt cities,5 shrinking East German towns,6 and the unfinished housing landscapes in Ireland are paradigmatic places and models for conceptualizing and empirically analyzing vacancy. Due to the conceptual and geographical predispositions in dominant vacancy debates, the place vacancy nexus, and thus the role that trajectories of urban development, local histories, and housing practices play in vacancy processes, receive little attention.7 Moreover, the reduction of vacancy into an urban metric reproduces these biases. As urban scholars and policymakers tend to treat vacancy as an indicator of housing oversupply, vacancy becomes an urban “problem” only when being numerically significant (e.g., above 5%) or gaining visibility8 and a dramatic visuality associated with catastrophic crises and failures. Hence, vacancy is predominantly understood as exceptional rather than embedded in urbanization processes and entwined socio-spatial inequalities.

2The paper shifts the focus to the ordinary geographies of urban vacancy to better understand the contextual dimensions and socio-spatial inequalities that shape processes and spatial patterns of vacancy in cities. In doing so, the analysis looks at the post-crisis geographies of inhabitation in Athens, a Southern European (SE) metropolis where high vacancy levels are not translated into urban decline and inner-city abandonment. This paper asks: What are these distinct patterns of vacancy, and what are the contextual factors shaping them? How does the use of the housing stock (i.e., use, vacancy, and reuse) reflect and have an impact on patterns of socio-spatial inequality manifested in housing, or more broadly, on access to housing? Methodologically, the study adopts a micro-geographical perspective centered around the building typology marking Athens’s urban landscape and social geography: the post‑war Athenian apartment block (polykatoikia). Drawing on the findings of mappings and interviews in eleven residential buildings in a central district of Athens Municipality called Attiki square (hereafter: Attiki), the analysis describes patterns of inhabitation, vacancy, and reuse of the post‑war housing stock and demonstrates how wider processes connected to housing consumption and access to housing in commodified and de‑commodified segments of the housing stock respectively shape unequal housing outcomes and micro-segregation.

  • 9 See Maloutas, Karadimitriou 2001; Leontidou 1990.

3The paper proceeds in four steps:
Section I presents an overview of the vacancy debate in SE and Greece to discuss the role that local development trajectories, housing systems, and property regimes play in shaping patterns of vacancy. Section II conceptualizes the link between vacancy and patterns of socio-spatial inequality by looking at the prehistories of urban vacancy and vertical segregation9 in the studied context. Following a brief methodological note, the first empirical part presents the results of mapping vacancy and inhabitation patterns in the residential blocks of focus. It discusses the current spatial and temporal patterns of vacancy and their interplay with segregation at the micro-scale. Then, the analysis turns into the practices: the residential mobilities that impede or foster vacancy; the emerging and often competing patterns of reuse; the impact of both on access to housing.

Vacancy in Southern Europe: housing systems and urban development

  • 10 Allen et al. 2004; Hoekstra,Vakili-Zak 2011.
  • 11 Keenan, Lowe, Spencer 1999.
  • 12 Gentili, Hoekstra 2019.

4The accumulation of vacant housing is a characteristic of SE housing.10 Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Spain, with vacancy rates above 20%, remain sticking out cases in Europe. As Martina Gentili and Joris Hoekstra observe, high vacancy levels do not indicate low demand11 or a higher affordability index since vacancy data do not always reflect housing availability.12 In what the authors call the “Mediterranean paradox”, second homes constitute a large part of the vacant stock in SE. This housing stock, irrespective of its use (i.e., occasional or no use) and condition, is unavailable in the market and therefore oversupply plays little role in keeping real estate prices low.

  • 13 Allen et al. 2004.
  • 14 Andreotti et al. 2001.
  • 15 Baldini, Poggio 2014.

5At the core of this “paradox” and the considerably large secondary property sector lie features that are shared amongst the homeowner societies of SE. Namely, the spread of homeonwership and multiple property ownership that are both central elements in the functioning of local housing and property regimes.13 Direct and indirect state support and promotion of homeownership (i.e., taxes, legalizations) have been historically the main form of housing policy in SE. In this context, the family has been (and remains) a key actor in residential property investments, and the distribution of housing wealth, also considering the low levels of state provision in social welfare14 and social housing. With the increasing marketization of the SE housing regime,15 property accumulation and multiple property ownership emerge as necessary family strategies that both upper and lower classes employ for the intergenerational transmission of homeownership or, more broadly, for preserving or passing on family wealth in the form of housing.

  • 16 Wind, Dewilde, Doling 2020.
  • 17 Skak, Bloze 2017.

6In the SE housing regimes, the second/vacant and the residual rental sector are like communicating vessels: they compete and feed off each other. Until recently, investments in residential properties remained popular also because housing functions as a versatile resource: residential properties can be transferred or used within the family, sold when liquidity is needed or rented out to support households’ monthly budgets. Nonetheless, vacancy usually prevails over renting in the secondary property sector, given that joining the rental market is a less popular management strategy for owners (i.e., limited landlordism).16 First, the small and residual rental market covering the needs of households excluded from homeownership, and its deregulation, go hand in hand with a socially constructed “risk” around renting. Additionally, the relatively lower profitability of renting encourages owners to withdraw from the rental market. Second, vacancy facilitates the functioning of family-centered housing support (e.g., hosting or providing housing for free to family members), as, in contrast to renting, it enables property owners to swap anytime to own‑use.17

  • 18 King, Warnes, Williams 2000; Maloutas 2000; Oliveira 2013; Salone, Janin Rivolin, Besana 2016.
  • 19 Maloutas, Spyrellis 2016a; Módenes, López-colás 2007.
  • 20 Adelfio, Valenzuela 2013; Torrado, Duque-Calvache, Palomares-Linares 2020.
  • 21 Coulter, van Ham, Findlay 2016.
  • 22 Allen et al. 2004.
  • 23 Marcuse 1985.
  • 24 Alexandri 2013; Tulumello, Allegretti 2021.

7Space and urbanization matter in this “paradox” since vacancies are often located in areas with low demand for primary homes.18 In urban agglomerations, a mix of different forms of vacancy (i.e., vacation dwellings, secondary residences, unfinished speculative developments) tends to concentrate in peri‑urban areas.19 In these locations, the long-established expansion of secondary homes intermingles, since the 2000s, with dynamics of sprawl and speculative new constructions20 that all have an impact on vacancy levels. The inner‑city urban vacancy is relatively limited, as dense urban living and “residential itinerancy”21 are common practices in the cities of SE. Since urban centers have kept their permanent population throughout the 20th century, inner‑city neighborhoods in SE cities did not experience massive depopulation, vacancy, and abandonment (cf. North American metropoles). On the contrary, urban vacancy has been more likely related to a punctual second‑home market in prime locations, particularly in historic centers.22 Therefore, in this context, vacancy is not strictly associated with the lower end of the housing market, deprived and segregated neighborhoods. In this respect, the abandonment-gentrification nexus23 is relatively weak in determining patterns of socio-spatial change. Considering also that gentrification in cities of SE has been a limited or marginal phenomenon,24 at least until the early 2000s. However, as touristification has increasingly an impact on the development trajectories of different SE cities, new forms of vacancy may be on the rise.

  • 25 Leontidou 1990.
  • 26 Maloutas 2004.
  • 27 Maloutas, Spyrellis 2016a; Torrado, Duque-Calvache, Palomares-Linares 2020.
  • 28 Maloutas, Spyrellis 2016a.
  • 29 Alexandri 2018.
  • 30 Dimitrakou 2022.
  • 31 Leontidou 2011.

8In the studied context, the vacancy geographies remain overall consistent with the above patterns. Regarding urban vacancy, distinct urban growth patterns,25 high density, social mix, and relatively low levels of residential mobility26 have impeded massive neglect of inner-city locations. However, studies have observed the inversion of the dominant patterns in the Metropolitan area of Athens during the 2000s. These manifested in a significant increase in housing oversupply in central neighborhoods, exceeding the one in usual (peri‑urban) clusters of vacancy.27 Scholars suggested that these developments are outputs of long‑term suburbanization dynamics and, more recently, sprawl.28 However, in the context of pro-gentrification urban policies and related debates following the 2008 crisis,29 urban vacancy has been problematized as an output of inner-city decline tangled with middle-class flight and (an instead assumed) intensification of (ethnic) segregation.30 Within those urban debates, neighborhoods traditionally associated with the “Mediterranean social mixite”31 were depicted as ethnically homogenous enclaves and loci of abandonment needing redevelopment.

  • 32 Glaeser, Gyourko 2005.
  • 33 Couch, Cocks 2013; Großmann et al. 2015.

9These urban debates are controversial as they seem decontextualized and centered around dominant theoretical agendas and models of vacancy. They call for a deeper understanding of the geographies of vacancy in context and ask: How do the use of the housing stock, or the lack thereof, structure segregation patterns? The next section taps into these questions, by shifting the focus from declinist perspectives,32 to look at vacancy through the lens of access to housing. This move is inspired by relevant studies suggesting an understudied link between segregation and vacancy,33 without though assuming that processes of shrinkage or decline are the drivers of residential change. The following section conceptualizes and contextualizes the link between vacancy and segregation, by taking on a long view on the trajectories of residential change in Attiki. It discusses the key contextual dynamics that historically shape intersections between distinct vacancy patterns, housing availability, and micro-segregation present in Athens.

Trajectories of vacancy: between residualization & (vertical) segregation

10Attiki is a district of Athens north-west of the historic center (fig. 1) that took its current form during the first post‑war decades. During that time, the city was reconstructed through a speculative model of housing production called antiparochi, which enabled individual city-builders (i.e., petty landowners and contractors) to set up non-monetary land-for-flats exchange agreements for the construction of apartment blocks. The typical post‑war residential buildings (polykatoikia) that dominate the Athenian urban landscape today are the material outputs of this model.

Fig. 1. The location of Attiki square district North of the historic center of Athens;

Fig. 1. The location of Attiki square district North of the historic center of Athens;

Ifigeneia Dimitrakou.

  • 34 Leontidou 1990.
  • 35 Leontidou 1990.
  • 36 Emmanuel 1981.
  • 37 Maloutas, Karadimitriou 2001.
  • 38 Dimitrakou et al. 2022.

11These development processes emerged as a response to the post‑war housing question. They fostered the growth of the local housing market and expanded rental and owner-occupied housing supply in inner-city locations. The rental market developing along with Attiki’s densification became the place of residence for the newly urbanized population, particularly the lower-middle classes unable to access homeownership.34 Particularly the absence of direct state‑led housing provision and the penalization of self-promoted housing, which enabling access housing in working-class suburbs, channeled by the late 1960s population flows into central neighborhoods.35 As the outdated and arguably cheaper pre‑war housing supply was rapidly replaced,36 the least privileged (i.e., smaller or located on lower floors) polykatoikia apartments absorbed this skyrocketing housing demand. Polykatoikias’ inner structure and the vertical differentiation of dwelling spaces concerning their size, quality, value, and tenure within each building could satisfy various housing needs and budgets. Thus, these typological features paved the way for vertical segregation at the micro level.37 Namely, the interclass hierarchical cohabitation of middle and upper classes and lower-income households in one residential building, according to which the former occupy the privileged apartments on the higher floors and the latter the middling and lower quality apartments on the lower floors of the building.38

  • 39 Leontidou 1990, p. 215.
  • 40 Karanikas et al. 1993.
  • 41 Maloutas 2010

12During the 1970s and the 1980s, a slow and fragmented process of “filtering”39 strengthened pre-existing patterns of vertical segregation. Attiki lost about 20% of its population40 due to the increased levels of social mobility during the first post‑war decades and middle-class suburbanization.41 Housing oversupply created by the moving of upper and middle classes in the suburbs and the devaluation of an already diverse housing stock opened possibilities for affordable access to housing to a wider scope of actors. Thereby, middle-class first owners who stayed put, middle and lower-income households who accessed homeownership by investing in second-hand dwellings, and households having no option than the rental market (i.e., early-stage housing career or low-income households) became neighbors and shared unequally the same apartment blocks.

  • 42 Emmanuel 2013.
  • 43 Vaiou et al. 2007.
  • 44 Arapoglou, Sayas 2009.
  • 45 Arbaci 2019; Kandylis, Maloutas, Sayas 2012.

13During the 1990s and the 2000s, city-ward migration sustained by global and local population flows42 further diversified the pattern of vertical interclass cohabitation. The immigrant population arriving in Athens in the 1990s from the countries of the former USSR and the Balkans and later on from different countries of Africa and Asia dispersed across neighborhoods of Athens Municipality and clustered in Attiki and adjacent areas.43 Considering the acute scarcity of social housing and related policies, immigrants’ integration into housing and the city happened through the market. Accordingly, the settlement of immigrants in the city followed the geographies of rental vacancy. This process has positively impacted Attikis’ aging demographic structure, vacancy, and segregation levels.44 Nonetheless, housing inequalities between immigrant tenants and lower-middle-class Greek homeowners remained stark. The residual rental market, which materialized in a large stock of devalued and vacant apartments dispersed in the basements and ground floors of post‑war housing, played a critical role in the “silent” integration of diverse immigrant groups but also their relative entrapment at the bottom end of the housing market.45

  • 46 ELSTAT in Dimitrakou 2019.
  • 47 Emmanuel 2013; Koutrolikou 2015.
  • 48 Maloutas, Spyrellis 2016a.
  • 49 Article by Matsaganis and Leventi quoted in Mavrodi, Moutselos 2017.
  • 50 Maloutas, Spyrellis 2016b.
  • 51 Karadimitriou, Maloutas, Arapoglou 2021.

14Attiki is today a socially mixed and one of the most ethnically diverse residential areas of the city. The district is the place of residence for Greek middle‑ and low-income households, immigrant households from East and South-East Europe (i.e., Albania, Bulgaria, Poland), and lately an increasing number of people from counties of South-East Asia and the Middle East.46 While vertical segregation has been a core feature of the Attiki’s social geography, with the outbreak of the 2008 crisis, the spatial coexistence of different social and ethnic groups at the micro level of the building was called into question, predominantly through stigmatizing media debates.47 At the same time, the area faced significant population losses and increased vacancies48 and large parts of the district’s population were particularly vulnerable to the impacts of the 2008 crisis and austerity. Social groups such as lower income (relatively to the middle classes), immigrants (relatively to the Greeks), and renters (relative to owners) suffered the most from the impacts of the post‑2008 restructuring.49 Overall, the presence of lower social and income categories and vulnerable households, the weakening of vertical segregation,50 and increasing levels of deprivation51 clustered in this area of the city are indicative of these developments.

Methodological notes

  • 52 ELSTAT in Dimitrakou 2019.

15The analysis below draws upon fieldwork material collected between February and July 2017 in Athens. The broader mixed method study (2016–2019) examined vacancy phenomena across three spatial levels: from the metropolitan dynamics and the neighborhood-specific trajectories of change to the level of the building and the current inhabitation patterns. This paper focuses on the micro-geographies of vacancy. It draws on the empirical data collected through the full mapping of eleven post‑war polykatoikia buildings done together with their inhabitants. Focusing on post‑war polykatoikia structures was a choice related to the materialities of vacancy in Athens, as 98% of all vacancies in the Municipality occur in this specific segment of the housing stock.52 Concerning the informants, these were selected through snowball sampling. In each building case, one or two inhabitants, mostly owners living years in the building and knowing its history and their inhabitants, participated in the mapping and were additionally interviewed (table 1). Semi-structured interviews aimed at describing the current spatial patterns of vacancy and reuse and at understanding the practices that reproduce or impede vacancy and influence on unequal patterns of inhabitation.

  • 53 Cairns, Jacobs 2014; Lees, Baxter 2011; Nethercote, Horne 2016.
  • 54 Forrest, Murie 1992.
  • 55 Althaus, Glaser 2014.
  • 56 Clapham 2005.
  • 57 Althaus, Glaser 2014, p. 281.

16Using the building and the apartment as a unit of analysis is a methodological gesture inspired by two relevant debates in human geography and housing studies. The first concerns new materialist and micro-geographical perspectives that use “ordinary” domestic architectures as conceptual devices to explore inhabitation practices.53 The second body of work concerns recent biographical perspectives in housing studies, which investigate place-specific residential change through the histories of residential structures and their inhabitants. “Dwelling stories”54 or “house biographies”55 shift the focus from individual housing pathways,56 to suggest that architectures as spaces carrying multiple “traces of life over time”57 have a great heuristic valuable for understanding residential change.

17What are the advantages of the above perspectives in vacancy studies? First, they allow us to expand the space-time frames in which we study vacancy and trace the socio-spatial process behind their manifestation. Thus, it supports a grounded understanding of the phenomena even in contexts where no official, reliable, or widely accessible statistical data about vacancy exists. Second, applied on the building level, this perspective enables accounting for the compound housing pathways shaping residential change shedding light into the different actors and practices that shape inhabitation. Lastly, by emphasizing inhabitation, both approaches promote an understanding of the dynamics shapes its absence. Therefore, they point to the elements that condition or facilitate access to housing for some actors instead of others.

18The remainder of the paper focuses on the empirical findings. The data presented are drawn from the whole sample of eleven building cases and related interviews. The four examples (see fig. 2) were selected to illustrate key findings about the relationship between micro-segregation and main vacancy patterns. These are 1. the typical filtering (A.1.): where vacancies are limited to the smaller (usually rental) apartments and lower floors of the building and the typical pattern of vertical segregation remains strong. 2. the inverted filtering (F.1.): where vacancy is extensive but concerns the more privileged apartments (i.e., top floors, larger usually owner-occupied apartments), and 3. the fragmented (D.1., E.1.): where vacancies of different past tenure manifest across the different levels of the building. While vertical differentiation exists in these cases, this is relatively weakened.

Tableau 1. Population résidente de la commune de Venise, par sous-ensembles.

 Buildings   Informants  Informants’ profiles  Tenure relation 
A.1 CM male, 43, civil servant other
A.2 CP male, 40, social worker other
D.1 DM female, 75, homemaker owner
D.1 KC male, 60, early retired other
E.1 LM male, 50, seeking a job renter
E.2 MA female, 56, graphic designer owner
E.3 TM female, 73, retired mathematician owner
F.1 KA female, 68, actress owner
F.1 AA female, 25, student renter
F.2 MV female, 53, realtor owner
F.2 KP male, 39, translator owner
P.1 GG male, 79, entrepreneur owner
P.2 PK male, 74, retired skilled worker owner
P.3 GE female, 56, dentist other

Fig. 2. Diagrammatic mapping of four selected polykatoikia buildings (left to right).

Fig. 2. Diagrammatic mapping of four selected polykatoikia buildings (left to right).

a. tenure structure b. ethnicity and household structure c. vacancy and use d. duration of vacancy.

Ifigeneia Dimitrakou.

Mapping the micro-geographies of vacancy & vertical segregation

  • 58 The housing stock mapped consisted of almost an equal amount of owner-occupied, rental, and vacant (...)
  • 59 ELSTAT in Dimitrakou 2019.

19In the sample of the eleven building cases mapped,58 the spatial patterns of tenure, ethnicity, household‑ and dwelling-size shade some light on housing inequalities and persisting patterns of vertical segregation. First, socio-tenure divides remain stark overall at the micro-scale. Immigrants, who, according to the 2011 National Population Census, constitute almost 40% of Attiki’s population,59 belong to low-income households and remain tenants, irrespective of ethnic background, living arrangements, current employment situation, or years in Greece. Homeowners are primarily Greeks and often elderly, belonging to the middle but also lower social categories (e.g., former craft workers, low-paid sales workers, repatriated guest-workers in the 1970s. In general terms, the over-representation of Greek owners on the top floors/middling apartments and their absence from the lower floors/lower quality dwellings (where immigrants usually reside) is a persisting pattern that indicates their unequal access to housing resources (fig. 2, tenure structure cf. ethnicity and household composition).

  • 60 Maloutas, Spyrellis 2016b.
  • 61 Maloutas 2014.
  • 62 Arbaci 2019.

20Some elements built in the vertical patterns of social differentiation change. First, there is a considerable mix of ethnic, social, and tenure categories, age groups, and living arrangements in the middle floors (e.g., fig. 2, Building E.1) possibly translating into a weakening of vertical segregation.60 Second, although in aggregate terms immigrants access smaller dwellings (i.e., sqm/capita) of lower overall quality (relatively to Greek renters and owners) there are differentiations amongst immigrant households. People settling in the district during the so‑called “early migration wave” (1990s early 2000s) are less present in the substandard basement apartments (fig. 2, Building D.1). In contrast, households immigrating in the late 2000s and 2010s have landed in a city in recession. Consequently, the structural conditions and the opportunities that newly arrived immigrants had for improving their housing conditions in the rental market have been more constrained. Lastly, single and two-person households are over-represented across socio-tenure categories and floors (fig. 2, Household composition). Some of the reasons behind this pattern are: renters’ (Greeks and immigrants) average household size (i.e., belonging to smaller households), the locational choices of middle-class households61 at an early stage of their family life, the aging population structure of the neighborhood (also of the immigrant population settling in during the 1990s), and the gradual dispersion of immigrant households across the neighborhoods of the city,62 particularly of the Albanian population that used to settle with their families in the district.

21Vacancy intermingles with these above inhabitation patterns. Although numerically important, vacancy rates do not translate into a spatially concentrated pattern. Instead of entirely vacant and abandoned structures, in Attiki one finds vacancies that are diffused horizontally in the neighborhood and vertically within the apartment blocks (fig. 1, Buildings E.1., D.1). Basement apartments, some of which are quasi-storage spaces, studios, rooftop rooms, front and rear-side apartments or more spacious “family apartments” make up a diverse vacant housing stock. These fragmented vacancy patterns are contingent on the socio-spatial structure of housing in the area. The overall smaller average dwelling size, and the spatially fragmented and socially diverse ownership structure, are elements entwined with the production of the post-war polykatoikia that shape distinct geographies of vacancy. These vertical geographies of vacancy contradict a widespread assumption suggesting that housing surpluses concern exclusively “filtered-down” dwellings (see fig. 2.c Building A.1. as a typical case of filtering and Building F.1 as an inversed pattern). Vacancies in the cheaper, relatively smaller, and less privileged dwellings, representing the bottom of the housing market, constitute less than one‑third of the total vacancies mapped. In the sample, the top and the lower floors, representing the least and more privileged dwellings accordingly, demonstrate equivalent vacancy levels. This pattern that hints at some horizontal impacts of the 2008 crisis on housing use and real estate values.

  • 63 Article by Fielder and Smith quoted in Keenan, Lowe, Spencer 1999.
  • 64 Bank of Greece 2014.

22Temporalities of vacancy add a layer of complexity to market‑ and crisis-centered explanations. First, most vacancies mapped concern apartments that remained out of permanent use for more than one and a half years. From a mainstream housing economics perspective, these are “problematic vacancies” that indicate structural problems of over-accumulation.63 Certainly, the effects of the crisis on household budgets and investment practices64 have slowed down the pace at which vacant and available housing is reused, maintained, transferred, or put back into the market. Nonetheless, the findings indicate a mix of long‑term (i.e., more than five years), short‑term and recurring vacancies (fig. 2, vacancy duration), that correspond to marketed and non-marketed assets respectively. This pattern, as discussed next, hints at the coexistence of a variety of (crisis-induced or not) processes that shape vacancy dynamics at large.

Doing and undoing vacancy: vacancy and reuse in the post‑crisis years

23To better understand these spatially fragmented and temporally layered patterns of vacancy it is crucial to disentangle what changed in the use of the housing stock, including who moved or stayed and why. The following section draws on the interviews conducted with inhabitants during the mappings. The analysis focuses on the events that preceded vacancy and mobilities that reproduce or counteract vacancy in place. Notably, in the context of real estate devaluation and crisis restructuring well-established practices of housing accumulation become more volatile and induce property abandonment. Furthermore, increasing housing precarity and involuntary mobility amongst tenants result in gaps in housing use. These vacancy-related processes sustain patterns of unequal access to housing. As it is shown, vacancy gives space for competing practices of reuse: the empty apartment is, at times, a means to cheap access to homeownership, an element of family solidarity but also a space for speculative micro-investment.

Vacancy: between residential mobility & immobility

  • 65 Gentili, Hoekstra 2019.

24Interviewees confirm that housing vacancy is a process that pre-existed the 2008 crisis. Long‑term vacancies concern properties that were bought or converted into second homes by their owners or their offspring. These vacancies are the output of practices of property accumulation and multiple property ownership in the context of long trajectories of middle-class suburbanization. As interviewees report, owning real estate was in the past “costless” (interview TM, female, 73). Over the last three decades, middle and lower-middle strata have acquired dwellings of different quality and value, but all have kept their properties for similar reasons: to preserve and transfer wealth within the family, to use or rent occasionally. As these dwellings have been mostly dissociated from the market, owners tried to keep the costs of multiple property ownership low by disinvesting (interview CP, male, 40). Nonetheless, since 2011 a series of property taxes imposed horizontally to socially diverse propertied classes have created fixed burdens that owners can no longer tactically avoid. In contrast to the hypothesis suggesting that mounting costs and tax arrears will force owners to join the housing market (i.e., sell or rent out),65 owners tend to sustain vacancies irrespective of their financial means. Property accumulation has played an important role in middle-class social reproduction and prevailing imaginaries linking property ownership to social merit, life stability, and family solidarity. These, according to the interviewees, keep owners from selling out their properties. Although these aspirations may have impeded massive sales, they have also exacerbated property closure and abandonment at least until the market circumstances improve (interview PA, male, 37).

25Recent vacancies in owner-occupied housing stock are linked to homeowners’ aging in place, considering the demographic structure of Attiki. As interviewees reveal, these vacancies follow transfers of owners’ primary residences after death. As they suggest, negotiations amongst family members may block reuse (interview MA, female, 56). However, the social background of the actors involved plays an important role in determining paths to vacancy. As interviewees report, senior owners are often low-income pensioners who see their resources decreasing in older age. Having no means to make improvements they often live in more spacious yet, undermaintained apartments. When these properties pass on to the next generations they are already “rumbled” and with the drop in sale prices after 2008, they are sold for “nothing” (interview DM, female, 75). This considerable devaluation and loss of family wealth highlight that the local housing and accumulation regime, although “less financialized”, is intrinsically linked to the volatility of the markets and has become increasingly fragile. As one interviewee aptly points out “you can’t buy even a car for the price of an apartment, nowadays” (interview PK, male, 39), and administrative costs, taxes, and other expenses required for selling an apartment make up almost the total of the sale price (interview VM, female, 53). In this context, family-based property accumulation is feasible only for the more affluent. For all the rest, disclaimers of interest and abandonment become a viable strategy that leaves behind a growing number of vacant apartments with “no owners” (interview DM, female, 75).

  • 66 Dimitrakou 2019.
  • 67 Lyberaki, Maroukis 2005.
  • 68 Maroukis 2012.
  • 69 Mavrodi, Moutselos 2017.
  • 70 Karadimitriou, Maloutas, Arapoglou 2021.

26Interviewees also reported that most recent vacancies (less than 1,5 years) occur in the rental sector and concern apartments of lower standards (i.e., smaller, lower floors, undermaintained). This finding aligns with the 2011 Census results suggesting that 45,2% of the vacancies in Attiki are apartments for rent.66 Behind these vacancies lie renters’ frequent residential moves prompted by increasing affordability problems. With the outbreak of the 2008 crisis, these problems have become severe in the low‑cost segment of the rental market, where the immigrant population seeks a home. Housing cost overburden rates have always been high for these households.67 Considering the precarious position that immigrants occupy in a fragmented labor market, and the absence of the state supporting their integration, there have always been struggles to pay the rent. However, the 2008 crisis signified a major disruption in most immigrants’ employment (interview ML, male, 50) as sectors relying on immigrant labor have collapsed or operate until today under increasingly insecure conditions.68 Therefore, short‑term employment and increasing unemployment amongst immigrants,69 in parallel with a relatively little decrease in rental prices, have fueled housing precarity. For households excluded from the local family housing and welfare regime,70 capacities to cover housing expenses are continually turned on and off, as their jobs do. Considering that growing unaffordability has sustained or even further fostered the informalization of rental relations, rental vacancies often follow rent arrears and forced mobilities that all remain relatively undocumented.

27Local support networks and place-based relationships may act as barriers to immigrants’ relocation (interview ML, male, 50) but staying put does not necessarily indicate less precarity or vacancy. First, the geographies of involuntary residential mobility vary significantly amongst different immigrant groups. Sustained relations or geographic proximity to the place of origin, and differentiated mobility rights depending on the residence permit are key aspects determining tenants’ moving or staying. For people with access to long‑term residence permits (i.e., usually Albanians) or with passports from countries that have joined the EU during the 2000s (i.e., Bulgaria, Romania, Poland) moving back to the country of origin or initiating new migratory projects in other European states is possible (interview TM, female, 73). In contrast, people fleeing recently from Africa and Asia do not have this option (interview GE, female, 56). In dealing with housing insecurity, these households either stay in the informal housing market and/or are forced into shorter relocations, often within the same neighborhood (interview GG, male, 79). The cheap rental supply in the district remains a pull factor. Oversupply enables saving micro-amounts from the monthly rent but also implies more frequent moving (interview MM, female, 45). Thus, recurring vacancies intertwin with increasing housing insecurity of households that stay in Attiki but remain stuck at the bottom end of the rental market.

Reuse: between the family & the market

28While vacancy remains prevalent, interviewees report that part of the housing stock is brought back into use after shorter or longer periods of vacancy. What is particularly important to note is that in most cases mentioned reuse did not involve a sale. However, limited knowledge exists (i.e., lack of official data) about who invests in what kind of assets and for what purposes. First, property fragmentation makes transactions untraceable even by the residents in one building, although fragmentation itself may have acted as a barrier to the massive selling‑off of housing. Second, inhabitants’ knowledge about the new owners and their practices is limited, considering that while resales are increasingly decoupled from permanent residential use (i.e., growth of short‑term rentals and secondary properties), inhabitants rarely meet residents or new owners.

  • 71 Siatitsa 2016.

29The most common reuse practice reported concerns formal and informal long‑term rentals. As interviewees report, these forms of reuse rarely involve major, if any, renovation. These opportunistic reuse tactics do not always result in long‑term use. They are result, instead, in recurring vacancies. The second most common practice concerned assets reused within extended family networks. The post‑2008 mortgage market collapse, and the fact that devaluated family wealth stored in housing can no longer support purchasing of a new home, have possibly fostered the “refamiliarization” of housing practices amongst Greeks.71 Valueless housing resources in a “declined” neighborhood regain use value and enable households to avoid insecurities and costs of renting or to limit considerably monthly expenses without the need for co‑residence between parents and the adult child (interview PA, male, 37). Depending on the kind of assets possessed and the specific life situations of both households, parents may move to the smaller apartment‑for rent or convert a small vacant or second property into a home for their offspring (interview PA, male, 37). Nonetheless, the households moving back to Attiki are often the smallest ones, usually singles at early or later stages in their life and housing pathways (interviewee DM, female, 75). Assuming that Attiki is an “unpopular” neighborhood for Greek-middle-class families, interviewees suggest that these family solidarity practices respond to the need to temporarily cope with households’ spending (interview CM, male 43). Thus, they are expected to be occasional and reversible (interview KC, male, 60).

30In a few cases, these support tactics expand beyond family networks. Providing a dwelling “for free” is a strategy that few owners employ to temporarily deal with the costs of vacancy or to hinder material neglect. In this context, shelter is exchanged with inhabitants’ labor, care for the building or the apartment (i.e., cleaning services), or involves small financial contributions to the shared fund of the building or other running costs (i.e., taxes) (interview DM, female, 75). Often understood as acts of “philanthropy” (interview KP, male, 39), these practices concerned exclusively low-standard spaces. Therefore, forms of decommodification (beyond the family) are not only punctual but also have a very particular geography; They emerge in the spaces where rent can no longer be extracted (see fig. 2, D.1). Yet, although these practices may involve mutual help, relations of care, they may also be part of owners’ opportunistic tactics that come along with dependencies or housing insecurity for the hosted ones.

31The cases of reuse that involved sale usually concerned small and medium-sized assets and seldom top-floor apartments. This pattern may be symptomatic of the investment capacities of new buyers but also the structure of the housing supply. Interviewees suggest that in the pre‑crisis years, transactions involved primarily Greek middle classes investing in rental and second properties (interview VM, female, 53). In contrast, new owners are often immigrants (interview PA, male, 37), settled for a long time in Greece and often in the same neighborhood, who invest small amounts in accessing homeownership. Although these developments indicate a considerable improvement in immigrants’ housing conditions, they are not necessarily linked to changes in their position in the social hierarchy. In a massive real estate devaluation, savings set aside during the previous more prosperous years become sufficient resources for buying a “shabby apartment for a few thousand euros” (interview GG, male, 79). Although this conjuncture has further enlarged housing possibilities for some, access to homeownership often requires staying in a low-income neighborhood and the cheap and undermaintained segment of the housing stock. Therefore, it is unclear to what extent these practices are shaped by market sorting or residential choice and whether they reproduce degrees of entrapment.

  • 72 Balampanidis et al. 2019.

32In more than half of the buildings mapped, few properties (1–2) were leased temporarily through platforms, a finding that confirms the growth of short-term rentals72 even in the “declined” neighborhoods of Athens. Although punctual, these practices emerge in proximity and sometimes compete with practices of reuse aimed at permanent residence. Regarding the actors involved, these are individual owners are owners or their adult children who switch to the short-term business to manage in a more “profitable” and “less risky” way inactive family/housing wealth (interview CP, male, 39). Although limiting the potential rental supply, these opportunistic forms of reuse are less likely associated with the direct conversion of formerly rented apartments into short-term rentals, considering the vast secondary (vacant) properties that have been kept off the market (interview GG, male, 79). On the other hand, short-term rentals following resale interact more directly with rental supply and affordable homeownership. In these cases, new individual owners follow similar strategies to the ones (lower-income households) seeking affordable access to homeownership: They invest in cheap assets that require major refurbishment and are sold at a very low price (interview MV, female, 53). Location and refurbished interiors matter most in the short-rental business and cheap assets in bad condition are low‑cost investments that pay off quickly. At least amid the examined period, these dynamics indicate that although conditions of oversupply, actors having unequal capacities and means compete in the low‑cost and neglected housing stock and point at dynamics that may soon jeopardize both low‑cost homeownership and affordable renting.


  • 73 Emmanuel 1981.
  • 74 Maloutas, Siatitsa, Balampanidis 2021.
  • 75 Maloutas, Spyrellis 2016b.
  • 76 Großmann et al. 2015.

33The article suggests that development trajectories and the functioning of local housing and property regimes play a crucial role in the different modalities of vacancy across places and times. In Athens, housing oversupply has been built in the post‑war development model,73 and vacancies have partly served as entry points for different populations arriving in the city in different phases of urbanization.74 As the findings show, the distinct (fragmented/vertical) geographies of urban vacancy in Athens are contingent on the social and spatial structure of housing, property, and tenure. Vacancy also remains an essensial component of social diversity and segregation at the micro-scale. Despite social homogenization dynamics75 the socio-spatial structure of housing vacancy does not seem to facilitate the radical restructuring of existing patterns of segregation,76 but (at least for the moment) their partial reproduction. The same applies to emerging reuse patterns. On the one hand, vacancies enlarge possibilities to access (affordable) housing but considering that a large part of the housing stock (particularly apartments of better quality) is kept off the market, pre-existing conditions of housing inequality at the micro-scale are sustained. What is not yet clear is how competing reuse dynamics, on the one hand, and disinvestment and neglect, on the other, will reshape the patterns of vertical inter-class cohabitation or broad access to decent and affordable housing.

34Inspired by relevant debates, the paper sheds some light on the relationship between vacancy and socio-spatial differentiation. To do so, it uses vacancy as a lens to explore residential change and housing inequality without assuming that the drivers remain the same across time. For instance, the analysis demonstrated that even though suburbanization has played a role in shaping both vacancy and the current social geography of the neighborhood, this is no longer the primary driver of residential change. Key dynamics shaping the nexus between vacancy and unequal access to housing in post-crisis Athens are 1. the housing precarity amongst low-income groups that have induced involuntary mobility (long‑term and recurring rental vacancies) 2. the disruption of longstanding practices of property accumulation, use, and transfer within the family that in the context of a massive real estate devaluation happening after 2008 (second properties kept off the market) 3. the (opportunistic or speculative) dynamics of reuse within the family. Moreover, by going beyond the real estate bust, the findings hinted at the less immediate but more profound impacts of the post-crisis restructuring on the local housing market, the housing practices, as well as on processes of precarization, and inequality.

  • 77 Cresswell 2012.
  • 78 Maloutas 2004.

35The approach adopted allowed us to reconsider two main assumptions guiding the study of the vacancy and its relation to residential change. The paper stressed the need to develop a deeper understanding of the variety of temporal and spatial patterns this process takes. Thus, to consider the competing processes reproducing or counteracting vacancy in place. Second, by emphasizing compound housing pathways, the study has revealed the co‑constitutive nature of residential mobility and immobility in the production of vacancy. These insights challenge dominant urban theories prioritizing geographical mobility in understanding socio-spatial change.77 Along with movement, residential stability, aging in place, and spatial fixity fostered by property accumulation are equally important components of change. This finding is significant for Athens and other contexts globally where high levels of homeownership or the geographies of support networks and housing wealth hinder residential mobility.78

36Overall, the paper stresses the need to place vacancy in broader debates about unequal access to housing. The experience from Athens challenges perspectives equating vacancy to housing availability, thus to a process that would be eventually regulated by the market and lead to either abandonment or gentrification. Instead, it inspires a discussion beyond how much vacancy is problematic to rethink vacancy by asking what kind of housing is finally available and accessible, for whom, and under which conditions.

Haut de page


Adelfio, Valenzuela 2013 = Marco Adelfio, Manuel Valenzuela, “The Dynamics of Metropolitan Peripheries: Ongoing Changes in Residential Development in the North-Western Corridor of the Madrid Region”, Articulo  Journal of Urban Research, 2013, online,

Alexandri 2013 = Georgia Alexandri, Tracing Gentrification Trends in the Athenian Center: The Case of Metaxourgeio, PhD dissertation, Harokopeio University, Athens, Greece, 2013, online, [in Greek].

Alexandri 2018 = Georgia Alexandri, “Planning Gentrification and the ‘Absent’ State in Athens”, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 42, 2018, p. 36–50.

Allen et al. 2004 = Judith Allen, James Barlow, Jesús Leal, Thomas Maloutas, Liliana Padovani, Housing and Welfare in Southern Europe, Oxford, Blackwell, 2004. 

Althaus, Glaser 2014 = Evelin Althaus, Marie Glaser, “House Biographies: Housing Studies on the Smallest Urban Scale”, in Stamatina Rassia, Panos Pardalos (ed.), Cities for Smart Environmental and Energy Futures, Energy Systems: Impacts on Architecture and Technology, Berlin, Springer, 2014, p. 281–288.

Andreotti et al. 2001 = Alberta Andreotti, Soledad Marisol Garcia, Aitor Gomez, Pedro Hespanha, Yuri Kazepo, Enzo Mingione, “Does a Southern European Model Exist?”, Journal of European Area Studies 9.1, 2001, p. 43–62.

Arapoglou, Sayas 2009 = Vassilis Arapoglou, John Sayas, “New Facets of Urban Segregation in Southern Europe: Gender, Migration and Social Class Change in Athens”, European Urban and Regional Studies 16.4, 2009, p. 345–362.

Arbaci 2019 = Sonia Arbaci, Paradoxes of Segregation: Housing Systems, Welfare Regimes and Ethnic Residential Change in Southern European Cities, London, Blackwell, 2019.

Balampanidis et al. 2019 = Dimitris Balampanidis, Thomas Maloutas, Evangelia Papatzani, Dimitris Pettas, “Informal Urban Regeneration as a Way out of the Crisis? Airbnb in Athens and its Effects on Space and Society”, Urban Research & Practice, 2019. Doi: 10.1080/17535069.2019.1600009.

Baldini, Poggio 2014 = Massimo Baldini, Teressio Poggio, “The Italian Housing System and the Global Financial Crisis”, Journal of Housing and the Built Environment 29, 2014, p. 317–334.

Balemi, Füss, Weigand 2021 = Nadia Balemi, Roland Füss, Alois Weigand, “COVID‑19’s Impact on Real Estate Markets: Review and Outlook”, Financial Markets and Portfolio Management, 2021. Doi: 10.1007/s11408-021-00384-6.

Bank of Greece 2014 = Bank of Greece, Research Results of National Cadaster Data‑1st semester 2014, pamphlet, 2014, online, [in Greek].

Benjamin, Dillette, Alderman 2020 = Stefanie Benjamin, Alana Dillette, Derek H. Alderman, “‘We can’t Return to Normal’: Committing to Tourism Equity in the Post-pandemic Age”, Tourism Geographies 22.3, 2020, p. 476–48.

Cairns, Jacobs 2014 = Stephen Cairns, Jane M. Jacobs, Buildings Must Die: A Perverse View of Architecture, Cambridge, MA, MIT Press, 2014.

Clapham 2005 = David Clapham, The Meaning of Housing: A Pathways Approach, Bristol, Policy Press, 2005.

Couch, Cocks 2013 = Chris Couch, Matthew Cocks, “Housing Vacancy and the Shrinking City: Trends and Policies in the UK and the City of Liverpool”, Housing Studies 28.3, 2013, p. 499–519.

Coulter, van Ham, Findlay 2016 = Rory Coulter, Maarten van Ham, Allan M Findlay, “Re‑thinking Residential Mobility: Linking Lives Through Time and Space”, Progress in Human Geography 40.3, 2016, p. 352–74.

Cresswell 2012 = Tim Cresswell, “Mobilities II: Still”, Progress in Human Geography 36.5, 2014, p. 645–653.

Dimitrakou 2019 = Ifigeneia Dimitrakou, Ambiguous Absences: Exploring the Production of Housing Vacancy in Athens, unpublished PhD dissertation, Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy, 2019.

Dimitrakou 2022 = Ifigeneia Dimitrakou, “A Sense of Absence: Resituating Housing Vacancy in Post‑crisis Athens”, Housing Studies 37.6, p. 997–1014.

Dimitrakou et al. 2022 = Ifigeneia Dimitrakou, Dimitris Balampanidis, Nikolina Myofa, Iris Polyzou, Dimitra Siatitsa, Stavros Spyrellis, Konstantinos Vakalopoulos, “Micro-segregation and Coexistence in Athens: The Debate on Segregation and its Implications for Urban Research”, in Thomas Maloutas, Nikos Karadimitriou (eds.), Vertical Cities: Micro-segregation, Social Mix and Urban Housing Markets, Cheltenham, UK, Elgar Publishing, 2022, p. 73–87.

Dewar, Thomas 2013 = Margaret Dewar, June Manning Thomas (eds.), The City After Abandonment, Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012.

Emmanuel 1981 = Dimitris Emmanuel, The Growth of Speculative Building in Greece: Modes of Housing Production and Socioeconomic Change, PhD dissertation, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, 1981, online,

Emmanuel 2013 = Dimitris Emmanuel, “Crisis in Athens Center and Housing Market: Re‑examining the Hypotheses on ‘Degradation’ and ‘Abandonment’”, in Thomas Maloutas, Giorgos Kandylis, Mihalis Petrou, Nikos Souliotis (eds.), The Centre of Athens as a Political Stake, Ethniko Kentro Koinonikon Erevnon (EKKE)-Harokopio University, 2013, p. 53–87 [in Greek].

Forrest, Murie 1992 = Ray Forrest, Alan Murie, “Change on a Rural Council Estate: An Analysis of Dwelling Histories”, Journal of Rural Studies 8.1, 1992, p. 53–65.

Gentili, Hoekstra 2019 = Martina Gentili, Joris Hoekstra, “Houses without People and People without Houses: A Cultural and Institutional Exploration of an Italian Paradox”, Housing Studies 34.3, 2019, p. 425–447.

Glaeser, Gyourko 2005 = Edward Glaeser, Joseph Gyourko, “Urban Decline and Durable Housing”, Journal of Political Economy 113.2, 2005, p. 345–375.

Graziani et al. 2020 = Terra Graziani, Joel Montano, Ananya Roy, Pamela Stephens, Who Profits from Crisis? Housing Grabs in Time of Recovery, Los Angeles, UCLA Luskin Institute for Inequality and Democracy, 2020, online,

Großmann et al. 2015 = Katrin Großmann, Thomas Arndt, Annegret Haase, Dieter Rink, Annett Steinführer, “The Influence of Housing Oversupply on Residential Segregation: Exploring the Post-socialist City of Leipzig”, Urban Geography 36.4, 2015, p. 550–577.

Haase et al. 2014 = Annegret Haase, Dieter Rink, Katrin Grossmann, Matthias Bernt, Vlad Mykhnenko, “Conceptualizing Urban Shrinkage”, Environment and Planning A 46.7, 2014, p. 1519–1534.

Hoekstra, Vakili-Zad 2011 = Joris Hoekstra, Cyrus Vakili-Zad, “High Vacancy Rates and Rising House Prices: The Spanish Paradox”, Tijdschrift voor economische en sociale geografie 102.1, 2011, p. 55–71.

Kandylis, Maloutas, Sayas 2012 = Giorgos Kandylis, Thomas Maloutas, John Sayas, “Immigration, Inequality and Diversity: Socio-Ethnic Hierarchy and Spatial Organization in Athens, Greece”, European Urban and Regional Studies 19.3, 2012, p. 267–86.

Karadimitriou, Maloutas, Arapoglou 2021 = Nikos Karadimitriou, Thomas Maloutas, Vassilis P. Arapoglou, “Multiple Deprivation and Urban Development in Athens, Greece: Spatial Trends and the Role of Access to Housing”, Land 10.3, 2021, p. 290.

Karanikas et al. 1993 = Giannis Karanikas et al., Urban Study on land use General Masterplan in the Neighborhoods of Victoria Square and Aristotelous of the 6th Municipal Sector, Part of the Neighborhood Mouseio and in Part of the Neighborhood Ioulianou Filadelfeias of the 1st Municipal District. Phase 3-Final report, Athens, Athens Municipality, 1993 [in Greek].

Keenan, Lowe, Spencer 1999 = Paul Keenan, Stuart Lowe, Sheila Spencer, “Housing Abandonment in Inner Cities-The Politics of Low Demand for Housing”, Housing Studies 14.5, 1999, p. 703–716.

King, Warnes, Williams 2000 = Russel King, Tony Warnes, Allan Williams, Sunset Lives: British Retirement Migration to the Mediterranean, New York, Berg Publishers, 2000.

Koutrolikou 2015 = Penny Koutrolikou, “Socio-spatial Stigmatization and its ‘Incorporation’ in the Center of Athens, Greece”, City 19.4, 2015, p. 510–521.

Lees, Baxter 2011 = Loretta Lees, Richard Baxter, “A ‘Building Event’ of Fear: Thinking through the Geography of Architecture”, Social and Cultural Geography 12.2, 2011, p. 107–122.

Leontidou 1990 = Lila Leontidou, The Mediterranean City in Transition: Social Change and Urban Development, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1990.

Leontidou 2011 = Lila Leontidou, Geographically Illiterate Land: Hellenic Idols in the Epistemological Reflections of European Geography, Athens, Propobos, 2011 [in Greek].

Lyberaki, Maroukis 2005 = Antigoni Lyberaki, Thanos Maroukis, “Albanian Immigrants in Athens: New Survey Evidence on Employment and Integration”, South-east European and Black Sea Studies 5.1, 2005, p. 21–48.

Maloutas 2000 = Thomas Maloutas, “Urbanization and Empty Dwellings”, in Thomas Maloutas (ed.), Social and Economic Atlas of Greece: Cities (24‑24), Athens, EKKE, 2000 [in Greek].

Maloutas 2004 = Thomas Maloutas, “Segregation and Residential Mobility: Spatially Entrapped Social Mobility and its Impact on Segregation in Athens”, European Urban and Regional Studies 11.3, 2004, p. 195–211.

Maloutas 2010 = Thomas Maloutas, “Mobilité sociale et ségrégation à Athènes : Formes de séparatisme social dans un contexte de mobilité spatiale réduite”, Actes de la Recherche en Sciences Sociales 184, 2010, p. 2–21.

Maloutas 2014 = Thomas Maloutas, “The Archaeology of the Decline of the City Center: Residential Location Choices of Affluent Groups”, in Myrto Tsilimpounidi, Aylwyn Walsh (eds.), Remapping Crisis: A Guide to Athens, London, Zero Books, 2014, p. 26–42.

Maloutas, Karadimitriou 2001 = Thomas Maloutas, Nikos Karadimitriou, “Vertical Social Differentiation in Athens: Alternative or Complement to Community Segregation?”, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 25.4, 2001, p. 699–716.

Maloutas, Siatitsa, Balampanidis 2021 = Thomas Maloutas, Dimitra Siatitsa, Dimitris Balampanidis, “Access to Housing and Social Inclusion in a Post-Crisis Era: Contextualizing Recent Trends in the City of Athens”, Social Inclusion 8.3, 2020, p. 5–15.

Maloutas, Spyrellis 2016a = Thomas Maloutas, Stavros Spyrellis, “Vacant Houses”, in Thomas Maloutas, Stavros Spyrellis (eds.), Athens Social Atlas, Digital compendium of texts and visual material, 2016, online,

Maloutas, Spyrellis 2016b = Thomas Maloutas, Stavros Spyrellis, “Vertical Segregation: Mapping the Vertical Social Stratification of Residents in Athenian Apartment Buildings”, Journal of Mediterranean Geography 127.1, 2016, p. 27–36.

Marcuse 1985 = Peter Marcuse, “Gentrification, Abandonment, and Displacement: Connections, Causes, and Policy Responses in New York City”, Journal of Urban and Contemporary Law 28, 1985, p. 195–240.

Maroukis 2012 = Thanos Maroukis, “Migration and the Crisis in Greek Society: the Parameters of a Coordinated Departure”, ELIAMEP – Briefing Note 08, 2012, online,

Mavrodi, Moutselos 2017 = Georgia Mavrodi, Michalis Moutselos, “Immobility in Times of Crisis? The Case of Greece”, in Jean-Michel Lafleur, Mikolaj Stanek (eds.), South-North Migration of EU Citizens in Times of Crisis, Cham, Springer, 2017, p. 33–48.

Módenes, López-Colás 2007 = Juan-Antonio Módenes, Julián López-Colás, “Second Homes and Compact Cities in Spain: Two Elements of the Same System?”, Tijdschrift voor economische en sociale geografie 98, 2007, p. 325–335.

Moreno, Blanco 2014 = Eduardo López Moreno, Zeltia González Blanco, “Ghost Cities and Empty Houses: Wasted Prosperity”, American International Journal of Social Science 3.2, 2014, p. 207–216.

Nethercote, Horne 2016 = Megan Nethercote, Ralph Horne, “Ordinary Vertical Urbanisms: City Apartments and the Everyday Geographies of High‑rise Families”, Environment and Planning A 48.8, 2016, p. 1581–1598.

O’Callaghan 2018 = Cian O’Callaghan, “Planetary Urbanization in Ruins: Provisional Theory and Ireland’s Crisis”, Environment and Planning D 36.3, 2018, p. 420–438.

O’Callaghan, Di Feliciantonio, Byrne 2018 = Cian O’Callaghan, Cesare Di Feliciantonio, Michael Byrne, “Governing Urban Vacancy in Post‑crash Dublin: Contested Property and Alternative Social Projects”, Urban Geography 39.6, 2018, p. 868–891.

Oliveira 2013 = José António de Oliveira, “Controversies of Second Home and Residential Tourism in Portugal”, in Zoran Roca (ed.), Second Home Tourism in Europe: Lifestyle Issues and Policy Responses, Farnham, Ashgate, 2013, p. 235–262.

Rogers, Power 2020 = Dallas Rogers, Emma Power, “Housing Policy and the COVID‑19 Pandemic: The Importance of Housing Research during this Health Emergency” International Journal of Housing Policy 20.2, 2020, p. 177–183.

Salone, Janin Rivolin, Besana 2016 = Carlo Salone, Umberto Janin Rivolin, Angelo Besana, “Crisis and Urban Shrinkage from an Italian Perspective”, in Joerg Knieling, Frank Othengrafen (eds.), Cities in Crisis: Socio-spatial Impacts of the Economic Crisis in Southern European Cities, London, Routledge, 2016, p. 190–214.

Siatitsa 2016 = Dimitra Siatitsa, “Changes in Housing and Property under the Austerity Regime in Greece”, in Sebastian Schipper, Barbara Schönig (eds.), Urban Austerity Impacts of the Global Financial Crisis on Cities in Europe, Berlin, Theater der Zeit, 2016, p. 145–160.

Skak, Bloze 2017 = Morten Skak, Gintautas Bloze, “Owning and Letting of Second Homes: What Are the Drivers? Insights from Denmark”, Journal of Housing and the Built Environment 32, 2017, p. 693–712.

Torrado, Duque-Calvache, Palomares-Linares 2020 = José Manuel Torrado, Ricardo Duque-Calvache, Isabel Palomares-Linares, “The Demand-side Determinants of Multiple Property Ownership in Spain”, International Journal of Housing Policy 20.1, 2020, p. 120–143.

Tulumello, Allegretti 2021 = Simone Tulumello, Giovanni Allegretti, “Articulating Urban Change in Southern Europe: Gentrification, Touristification and Financialisation in Mouraria, Lisbon”, European Urban and Regional Studies 28.2, 2011, p. 111–132.

Vaiou et al. 2007 = Dina Vaiou et al., Intersecting Patterns of Everyday Life and Socio-spatial Transformations in the City. Migrant and Local Women in the Neighborhoods of Athens, Athens, L‑Press and NTUA, 2007 [in Greek].

Wind, Dewilde, Doling 2020 = Barend Wind, Caroline Dewilde, John Doling, “Secondary Property Ownership in Europe: Contributing to Asset-based Welfare Strategies and the ‘Really Big Trade‑off’”, International Journal of Housing Policy 20.1, 2020, p. 25–52.

Haut de page


1 Balemi, Füss, Weigand 2021.

2 Rogers, Power 2020.

3 Benjamin, Dillette, Alderman 2020.

4 Graziani et al. 2020.

5 Dewar, Thomas 2013.

6 Haase et al. 2014.

7 Notable exception O’Callaghan 2018.

8 O’Callaghan, Di Feliciantonio, Byrne 2018.

9 See Maloutas, Karadimitriou 2001; Leontidou 1990.

10 Allen et al. 2004; Hoekstra,Vakili-Zak 2011.

11 Keenan, Lowe, Spencer 1999.

12 Gentili, Hoekstra 2019.

13 Allen et al. 2004.

14 Andreotti et al. 2001.

15 Baldini, Poggio 2014.

16 Wind, Dewilde, Doling 2020.

17 Skak, Bloze 2017.

18 King, Warnes, Williams 2000; Maloutas 2000; Oliveira 2013; Salone, Janin Rivolin, Besana 2016.

19 Maloutas, Spyrellis 2016a; Módenes, López-colás 2007.

20 Adelfio, Valenzuela 2013; Torrado, Duque-Calvache, Palomares-Linares 2020.

21 Coulter, van Ham, Findlay 2016.

22 Allen et al. 2004.

23 Marcuse 1985.

24 Alexandri 2013; Tulumello, Allegretti 2021.

25 Leontidou 1990.

26 Maloutas 2004.

27 Maloutas, Spyrellis 2016a; Torrado, Duque-Calvache, Palomares-Linares 2020.

28 Maloutas, Spyrellis 2016a.

29 Alexandri 2018.

30 Dimitrakou 2022.

31 Leontidou 2011.

32 Glaeser, Gyourko 2005.

33 Couch, Cocks 2013; Großmann et al. 2015.

34 Leontidou 1990.

35 Leontidou 1990.

36 Emmanuel 1981.

37 Maloutas, Karadimitriou 2001.

38 Dimitrakou et al. 2022.

39 Leontidou 1990, p. 215.

40 Karanikas et al. 1993.

41 Maloutas 2010

42 Emmanuel 2013.

43 Vaiou et al. 2007.

44 Arapoglou, Sayas 2009.

45 Arbaci 2019; Kandylis, Maloutas, Sayas 2012.

46 ELSTAT in Dimitrakou 2019.

47 Emmanuel 2013; Koutrolikou 2015.

48 Maloutas, Spyrellis 2016a.

49 Article by Matsaganis and Leventi quoted in Mavrodi, Moutselos 2017.

50 Maloutas, Spyrellis 2016b.

51 Karadimitriou, Maloutas, Arapoglou 2021.

52 ELSTAT in Dimitrakou 2019.

53 Cairns, Jacobs 2014; Lees, Baxter 2011; Nethercote, Horne 2016.

54 Forrest, Murie 1992.

55 Althaus, Glaser 2014.

56 Clapham 2005.

57 Althaus, Glaser 2014, p. 281.

58 The housing stock mapped consisted of almost an equal amount of owner-occupied, rental, and vacant apartments.

59 ELSTAT in Dimitrakou 2019.

60 Maloutas, Spyrellis 2016b.

61 Maloutas 2014.

62 Arbaci 2019.

63 Article by Fielder and Smith quoted in Keenan, Lowe, Spencer 1999.

64 Bank of Greece 2014.

65 Gentili, Hoekstra 2019.

66 Dimitrakou 2019.

67 Lyberaki, Maroukis 2005.

68 Maroukis 2012.

69 Mavrodi, Moutselos 2017.

70 Karadimitriou, Maloutas, Arapoglou 2021.

71 Siatitsa 2016.

72 Balampanidis et al. 2019.

73 Emmanuel 1981.

74 Maloutas, Siatitsa, Balampanidis 2021.

75 Maloutas, Spyrellis 2016b.

76 Großmann et al. 2015.

77 Cresswell 2012.

78 Maloutas 2004.

Haut de page

Table des illustrations

Titre Fig. 1. The location of Attiki square district North of the historic center of Athens;
Crédits Ifigeneia Dimitrakou.
Fichier image/jpeg, 565k
Titre Fig. 2. Diagrammatic mapping of four selected polykatoikia buildings (left to right).
Légende a. tenure structure b. ethnicity and household structure c. vacancy and use d. duration of vacancy.
Crédits Ifigeneia Dimitrakou.
Fichier image/jpeg, 574k
Haut de page

Pour citer cet article

Référence papier

Ifigeneia Dimitrakou, « Vacancy, access to housing and micro‑segregation »Bulletin de correspondance hellénique moderne et contemporain, 7 | -1, 43-66.

Référence électronique

Ifigeneia Dimitrakou, « Vacancy, access to housing and micro‑segregation »Bulletin de correspondance hellénique moderne et contemporain [En ligne], 7 | 2022, mis en ligne le 20 juin 2023, consulté le 30 novembre 2023. URL : ; DOI :

Haut de page


Ifigeneia Dimitrakou

UZH postdoctoral fellow, Department of Geography, University of Zurich

Haut de page

Droits d’auteur


Le texte seul est utilisable sous licence CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. Les autres éléments (illustrations, fichiers annexes importés) sont « Tous droits réservés », sauf mention contraire.

Haut de page
Rechercher dans OpenEdition Search

Vous allez être redirigé vers OpenEdition Search