Case study on housing - Turku, Finland: housing of immigrants
Immigration in Finland and in Turku is a relative recent phenomenon. Policy reactions – both at the national and local level – have been partial and targeted at the category of refugees and returnees.
The two main issues of housing of immigrants in Turku are:
- providing first housing for newly arrived/admitted immigrants;
- avoiding/ preventing concentration of immigrants particularly
in areas that are vulnerable.
The specific policies relating to reception of refugees and returnees have been initiated at the national level primarily, inducing and obliging local authorities to develop integration programmes for them. The city has not developed an integration policy for newcomers in general, but rather a reception policy for a specific category. As to housing the city has implemented a policy of allocating first housing to this specific category of refugees and returnees, using the rental stock of two housing corporations controlled by the city. This has led to a certain concentration of immigrants in certain areas of the city (although the level of `segregation’ is still relatively low in international comparison): a concentration that actually reflects the spatial concentration of houses in the cheapest part of the city-controlled rental market.
Researcher: Prof. R Penninx,Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies, University of Amsterdam
The challenge of providing housing is tackled by a) sharply defining those who should be cared for (admitted refugees/asylum seekers and `returnees’ from the former Soviet Union; b) providing this category housing in the (rental)social housing sector of the city.
This latter strategy leads to a certain concentration of immigrants in areas where social housing is concentrated and where also the more vulnerable part of the native population lives. That is why two strategies are followed: one is renewal of degraded areas, and second is to steer allocation of housing for immigrants in order to avoid growing concentrations of immigrants in certain areas. The latter measure is not implemented yet.
- Explore possibilities of formulating a comprehensive and pro-active integration policy for all newcomers in the city.
- The necessary involvement of all city departments in a comprehensive and pro-active policy could also lead to reconsider the institutional arrangements within the municipal organisation.
- In the field of housing, a broader perspective for integration policies would mean that other categories than refugees and returnees would come into the picture.
- Adequate housing policies --and for that matter integration
policies in general-- need not only a clear framing on what they
aim for, how they should be organised institutionally, and with
which institutional partners policies will be implemented, they
also need to mobilise the active cooperation of the targetgroups to
The housing provisions are particularly aiming at, and restricted to admitted refugees/asylum seekers and `returnees’ from the former Soviet Union and their family members. There is no explicit policy for other immigrants.
A large part of the funding involved comes from National Reception Regulations and Policies for admitted refugees/asylum seekers and 'returnees'from the former Soviet Union. The city finances the remaining part.
The City of Turku’s Public Services Department
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Research | Housing in Turku, Finland
02 Oct 2008, pdf, 370KB