In his lecture on "Post-industrial dynamics and urban housing", Hugo Priemus advocates a mixed urban housing strategy to provide high-quality urban housing for knowledge workers and affordable housing for middle- and low-income households.
mp3 iconPost-industrial Dynamics and Urban Housing - Hugo Priemus


Hugo Priemus is professor emeritus in Housing, OTB Research Institute for the Built Environment, Delft University of Technology (the Netherlands). He has conducted research into housing, urban development, urban restructuring, land policy, transport and infrastructure. He is Knight in the Order of the Dutch Lion, honorary doctor of the University of Uppsala and holder of the gold Medal of Delft University of Technology and the Hudig Medal. He was research-coordinator for two Dutch Parliamentary Enquiry Committees: on Building Subsidies and on Infrastructure Projects.


This lecture deals with post-industrial cities being a production environment for personal and business services, and the associated issues and needs for those cities to be attractive for knowledge workers & low-income households.

(Mega-) cities are presented as nodes in a variety of global networks such as: networks of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT); traffic networks including not only cars, buses and trains but also planes and ships; green networks such as nature, parks and public spaces in cities; blue networks such as rivers and lakes.

Propositions for addressing the issue:

Affordable housing strategies: reducing costs of urban land and construction, and regulating rents in such a way that for an occupied rented dwelling rents can only be adapted once a year within an acceptable range.

Social housing institutions: it is crucial that not-for-profit private institutions are active, embedded in a national Housing Act, which provide housing for household with a low to modest income. On the one hand they are not allowed to adopt risk selection in allocating housing. On the other hand they have to prevent stigma and spatial segregation.

Housing allowances as an entitlement; the national Constitution must be based on UN Human Rights, including the right for every household for decent housing. This is an instruction norm for national legislation to obtain affordable housing of an appropriate quality.

Allocation according to need; in the upper part of the housing market demand and prices may determine housing allocation. In the lower end need must play a decisive role in the allocation of housing, such as handicaps, specific needs of the elderly and large families.

Reusing vacant office buildings; in many cities ICT reduce the space needed for office work. Vacancy in many offices is structural. These buildings could be reused for housing and creative activities.

Reducing energy costs; the reduction of energy costs is important for environmental reasons but also for the affordability of housing.

More control by occupants over their housing environment; both tenants and owner-occupiers want to control their dwelling and the housing environment more. It increases their satisfaction and the quality-of-life if this demand can be met.


Article: The future of social housing : the Dutch case (2013)

Paper: Regeneration of Dutch Urban Districts: the Role of Housing Associations, ESRA 2005; 45th Congress of the European Regional Science Association (2005)

Paper The future of social housing: from social housing estates to social housing systems (2004)

Social housing issues in the European Union, paper presented at the symposium ‘Social Housing Now and in the Future’ (2000) 

Article with Coa Spatial disparities and housing market deregulation In the Randstad region : A comparison with the San Francisco bay area (2007)