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Housing not for all: The lack of universal accessibility to housing in multi-unit buildings in Spain, Sweden and Germany

Sergio Nasarre-Aznar (UNESCO Housing Chair, Rovira i Virgili University, Tarragona, Spain)
Héctor Simón-Moreno (UNESCO Housing Chair, Rovira i Virgili University, Tarragona, Spain)

Journal of Property, Planning and Environmental Law

ISSN: 2514-9407

Article publication date: 6 December 2019

Issue publication date: 18 March 2020

192

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to explore the current situation of universal accessibility to multi-unit buildings in three European countries (Spain, Germany and Sweden), in view of the lack of effective European rules on this topic, with the aim to identify which legal frameworks and policies may be useful to favour it.

Design/methodology/approach

The results presented in this work are based on empirical data gathered from three surveys conducted in three representative countries of different housing models (Spain, Germany and Sweden). These surveys addressed the grade of accessibility at each point of the route that a person with mobility difficulties, with a physical deficiency or aged +70, has to do to access to their home from a public street or road.

Findings

The current paper shows that, in the end, there is still a long way to go in terms of universal accessibility to multi-unit buildings in, at least, three European Union Member States as, according to this study’s findings, the percentage of universally accessible multi-unit buildings is limited to 0.6 per cent in Spain, 2.5 per cent in Sweden and 1.5 per cent in Germany. The study also identifies successful legal frameworks and policies among the studied countries that may be useful to achieve a true universal accessibility to flats located in multi-unit buildings.

Research limitations/implications

The legal frameworks and policies identified in this paper in terms of promoting universal accessibility to housing located in multi-unit buildings may provide guidance to other researchers and policymakers when addressing this topic, thus helping them to reach an egalitarian and inclusive society.

Originality/value

This paper goes one step further than previous works as it is based on up to date empirical data concerning accessibility and it identifies successful legal frameworks and policies in a comparative perspective.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This paper has been possible thanks to the project of the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness “Collaborative housing” (2018-20; DER2017-84726-C3-1-P) and the research award ICREA (2016-20) awarded to Professor Nasarre-Aznar. The authors would like to thank Santi Ariste and Irene Suau for their involvement in the data gathering and processing that sustains this work, as well as Sandra Gerdes and Valerie Müller (University of Bremen) and Dr Elisabeth Ahlinder (University of Stockholm) for their valuable insight into the interpretation of the results of the survey conducted in Germany and Sweden. All responsibility, though, remains of the authors’.

Citation

Nasarre-Aznar, S. and Simón-Moreno, H. (2020), "Housing not for all: The lack of universal accessibility to housing in multi-unit buildings in Spain, Sweden and Germany", Journal of Property, Planning and Environmental Law, Vol. 12 No. 1, pp. 35-54. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPPEL-05-2019-0028

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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