Profile of Mr Daan Bossuyt University of Amsterdam

Daan Bossuyt

I work as a PhD at the University of Amsterdam and have a background in political science and urban studies. I am also the academic director of the pre-university honors programme: the Urban Toolkit. My PhD research deals with self-build housing and facilities in the Netherlands and Brazil. In previous research I have investigated the electoral politics of urban development in the context of port redevelopment in Amsterdam and Stockholm.

General research interests

My research interests include a wide range of topics, varying from self-build and collaborative housing models to the (electoral politics) of urban development and ontological and epistemological issues in planning research.

PhD/Postdoctoral Research Title

The challenges and potentials of self-build housing

PhD Abstract

This PhD proposal deals with self-build housing, which is broadly defined as the practice through which people are responsible, arrange and organize for the production of their own dwelling. Governance structures increasingly meet difficulties in satisfying the need for housing that is affordable, sustainable and of sufficient quality. For planning, housing has historically been at the heart of its normative quest and relates to fundamental issues of equity and justice. (Hall, 2014). In recent years, self-build housing initiatives have risen to the fore in various locales as a third means of housing provision beyond state or market provided housing. This necessitates a departure from the production of housing as a mass commodity produced by speculative builders or state-sanctioned organizations and a reversal of the chain of urban production from a supply-led to a demand-led model. Self-build housing is argued to constitute a ‘timeless way of building’ (Alexander, 1979), and is positively associated with affordability, sustainability, housing stock diversification, and house market resilience (Bresson & Denèfle, 2015; Bronzini, 2016; Droste, 2015; Parvis et al., 2011; Tummers, 2016). Self-build may deviate from established housing provision models and conflict with the desire for control inherent to (modernist) planning.

In advanced capitalist economies self-build housing is underestimated as a sensible way of housing provision (Duncan & Rowe, 1993). Housing is considered a domain of public concern, yet provided through supply-led governance arrangements in which residents role is limited to consumption. Since the early zeroes, the government has deliberately promulgated self-build housing. Various municipalities have experimented with self-build housing schemes for lower and middle incomes, most notably the example of Homeruskwartier in the new town of Almere. Meanwhile, self-build housing has been recognized as a viable way of housing provision in the Global South (Turner, 1968). In Brazil, informal settlements and favelas are common urbanization patterns. Though these were initially rejected by the state, they have been recognized and accepted as a functional way of housing provision since the eighties, as they provide flexible and affordable dwellings to lower-income people and rural migrants.

This proposal aims to investigate how the capacity for self-organization relates to formal domains of regulation and control in self-build housing. This is studied through different methods: by mapping self-build practices in relation existing formal governance arrangements; understanding the experiences of planners and residents in the light of self-build; and assessing the effects of self-build housing in terms of sustainability and normative issues of justice. In all these questions the relationship between the practices of self-organization and the formal governance practices and regulations play a key role.