Housed by Choice - Housed by Force

Conflict and Conflicting Interests
Event Date: January 21-22, 2016
Abstract Date: October 15, 2015
Georgios Hadjimichael: Senior Town Planning Officer, Town Planning and Housing Department, Ministry of Interior, Nicosia, Cyprus.
Title of Talk: Housing in Times of Crisis


The need to be housed is basic and yet, the forces that produce it in any city of the world are complicated, multiple, contradictory and often conflictive. These forces may be political, military, economic social or technological. Together, they all mean the delivery of housing always takes place against a backdrop of conflicts and conflicting interests that too often means residents are left behind, ignored and, at times, actively targeted as a problem.

Whilst inherently complicated in any context, housing delivery is even more difficult in sites of inherent social, cultural, political and economic sensitivity such as the one that hosts this event, Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus. Located in the easternmost part of Europe and the western part of the Middle East, it shares waters with Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt and Israel. It is the only remaining divided capital in the world, with a Greek majority in the south and a Turkish majority in the north. Its banking and financial systems went into meltdown in 2009 and it still operates with two separate national currencies. It is a country with a turbulent history and a socially and economically complicated present.

In such contexts of conflict, conflicting interests and competing forces, how can choice play a role in housing. What kind of choices are available to residents? Without a choice, can people live happy and healthy lives in the houses they inhabit? How do patterns of everyday occupation emerge out of narratives of choices and accident? Why is a sense of choice so important and how is difference in choice regulated? The people making and offering these choices are various: national governments, local authorities, private residents, council tenants, architects deigning houses, builders constructing them and estate agents selling them. How can these conflicting interests be aligned?

Taking as its starting point the social, political, cultural and economic complexity of its host city, this conference seeks to understand the range of conflicting interests and factors that shape the housing of our towns and cities in both normal and extreme scenarios. It is interested in international cases from politically charged environments of military conflict zones to the socially conflictive contexts of developer led gentrification; from local resident initiatives to globally applicable design ideas. Although hosted in a particular geopolitical setting, the issues dealt with resonate further afield and the conference welcomes presentations from any part of the world.


  • Architecture
  • Planning
  • Urban design
  • Housing
  • Governance
  • Community studies
  • Sociology
  • Design
  • Human geography
  • Art activism

Key Dates

Abstract Submissions
15 October 2015
Abstract Feedback
31 October 2015
Full Paper Submissions
10 January 2015
21-22 January 2016
Feedback for publication
25 February 2016
Publication of Full papers
01 April 2016


Policy and Governance
Local authorities | Government priorities | Policy and planning | Regional strategy | Refugee policy and practice
Building and Housing
Affordability through construction | Procurement and design
Community and People
Participatory projects | Artists and resident engagement | The experience of users | Migrant housing
Research and Theory
Academia | Innovation and case studies on proposed | Implemented models of housing
Design Solutions
Affordable housing design | Incremental housing practice | Participation and design | Emergency housing | Humanitarian crisis


The conference welcomes case studies; design proposals, research projects, investigative papers and theoretical considerations presented in various formats:

Conference Presentations
(20 minutes)
Written Papers
(3,000 words) *
Alternative Proposals
Pecha Kucha; short films; photo essays etc.
In-person and virtual presentations
(via Skype, etc.)


The publishers that AMPS works with include UCL Press, Routledge Taylor & Francis, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Vernon Press, Libri Publishing and Intellect Books.


Conference outputs include the AMPS Proceedings Series, ISSN 2398-9467; Special Issue Publications of the academic journal Architecture_MPS ISSN 2020-9006; Books with the publishing houses listed above and short films available on the AMPS Academic YouTube Channel.


Written papers are optional.  If submitted they should be 3,000 word length. Formatting instructions to follow after the conference. All papers are double- blind peer reviewed for the AMPS Conference Proceedings Series. Subject to review, selected authors will be invited to develop longer versions as articles in the academic journal Architecture_MPS or in specially produced conference books.


Image: Georgios Artopoulos