The public housing estates built in cities around the world since the first public housing was built in the 19th-century London have long been home to the very vulnerable, including refugees and immigrants. At the level of their lived experience – home and neighbourhood – the architectural and spatial qualities of public spaces and housing affect refugees’ and migrants’ ability to integrate into their new home. We can see this in the public housing estates of two cities on opposite sides of the world, Paris and London.
In their new communities, refugees are also trying to adapt to new cultural norms, language, access to employment and education and even to stigma and blame for their need of public housing.
Refugees are among those hardest hit by social and economic challenges that are being deepened by structural economic changes. This includes the challenge of finding affordable housing. By 2025 an estimated one-third of the world’s city dwellers will struggle to secure decent, affordable housing.