Housing strategies of the regions’ populations (Kirov, Nizhny Novgorod and Kazan case studies)
Keywords:housing, citizens, residents of regional cities, real estate, housing improvement strategies, improvement of housing conditions
The article presents the findings of an empirical study devoted to socio-economic housing improvement practices of people living in the regional cities of the Volga Federal District (2016—2017). Exploring the housing behavior may help in solving many urgent social problems caused by the population polarization, demographic crisis and labor migration.The paper investigates the extent to which the legal mechanism aimed to improve living conditions is integrated in people’s housing strategies and outlines diverse housing plans and practices. The empirical basis of the study is the data of a door-to-door survey carried out in three regional cities and a series of eight open group discussions involving different population categories.Using multivariate statistics the authors single out several groups of citizens based on their housing needs and practices to satisfy those needs. The most typical housing strategies are survival (forced or well-founded refusal to improve housing conditions), micro-comfort and prestigious consumption. Citizens’ housing strategies are broadly correlated with the economic situation in the regions and the condition of the housing stock.However, every city has its clusters of people who act either as ‘catalysts’ or as ‘inhibitors’ in the housing infrastructure development; and this housing stratification incites further research. The analysis of the techniques to improve housing conditions shows that there is a downward trend in paternalist expectations and an upward trend in the number of acquisitions made with the help of relatives, private savings and loans.