Refugee Mobilities and Institutional Changes: Local Housing Policies and Segregation Processes in Greek Cities

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-7635

Article | Open Access

Refugee Mobilities and Institutional Changes: Local Housing Policies and Segregation Processes in Greek Cities


  • Pinelopi Vergou Department of Economics, University of Thessaly, Greece
  • Paschalis A. Arvanitidis Department of Economics, University of Thessaly, Greece
  • Panos Manetos Department of Planning and Regional Development, University of Thessaly, Greece


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Abstract:  Many studies have explored the dynamics of immigrant and refugee settlement at the local level, highlighting that it is actually a two-way process: On the one hand, the local socio-political context specifies the conditions for refugee inclusion, and on the other, migrant mobility leads to the transformation of localities in various ways. In Greek cities, the social practices of local actors have played an important role in the implementation of the immigration policy, where refugees were perceived as a threat to personal and community security. Yet, new forms of social mobilisation and solidarity by individual citizens and community initiatives have worked to alter these attitudes, mitigating tensions and obstacles in refugee acceptance. The article draws on the Greek experience to explore the role and importance of the local socio-political texture in refugee inclusion, shedding light on how it gave rise to various local initiatives that inform refugee allocation as well as urban transformation and institutional change. In methodological terms, the article considers three neighbouring Greek cities as case studies to identify the different institutional and policy responses to refugee accommodation, giving rise to different paths and forms of social inclusion. The study reveals the complexity and context of the social-spatial diversity that refugees face but also the transformation dynamics of local states and civil society.The paper draws on the Greek experience to explore the role and importance of social infrastructure in refugee integration, shedding light on how these qualities, materialized in local initiatives for refugee integration to influence urban transformation and institutional change. In methodological terms, the paper employs three small and medium-size Greek cities as case studies to identify the different institutional and policy responses to refugee accommodation followed, giving rise to different paths and forms of social inclusion and urban transformation. The study reveals the complexity and the contextuality of the social spatial diversity that refugees face but also the transformation of local states and civil society.

Keywords:  local welfare state; municipalities; refugee accommodation; segregation; social initiatives; solidarity

Published:   27 April 2021


DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/up.v6i2.3937


© Pinelopi Vergou, Paschalis A. Arvanitidis, Panos Manetos. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.