‘Thou shalt be a (more) responsible tenant’: exploring innovative management strategies in changing social housing contexts

Igor Costarelli, Reinout Kleinhans, Silvia Mugnano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
23 Downloads (Pure)


The nature of housing management has often been contested between two main orientations, business-like (i.e. economic efficiency) and social welfare (i.e. social support), reflecting the dual identity of social housing providers, as both private enterprises and welfare promoters. Research shows that housing management is particularly susceptible to transformations in the broader social housing sector. Considering the last two decades, the demand for social housing has increased across Western Europe, involving different social categories, e.g. low-middle income and, more recently, asylum seekers. On the supply side, housing providers have become keener to involve residents in delivering and managing housing-related services. This paper explores how innovative management strategies are emerging in the context of broader changes in social rented sectors and welfare policies in countries characterised by different typologies of housing systems, Italy and the Netherlands. By means of case studies and semi-structured interviews, this paper scrutinizes specific management approaches, i.e. Integrated Social Management and self-management, in two recent social housing projects in Milan and Amsterdam, which target socially mixed tenants, i.e. status-holders, low-income and young locals. Despite several differences, management approaches in both cases aim to increase tenants’ responsibilisation but with different focus: towards the community, i.e. social integration of vulnerable tenants in the housing project (Dutch case), and towards individual dwellings, i.e. boosting individuals’ self-agency in relation to the maintenance of properties (Italian case). This paper discusses how distinct, and sometimes normative, premises underlying tenants participation in housing management shape specific relationships between residents and housing providers.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Housing and the Built Environment
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 Jun 2019

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project https://www.openaccess.nl/en/you-share-we-take-care

Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • Amsterdam
  • Collaborative housing
  • Housing management
  • Milan
  • Mixed communities
  • Social housing


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