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Bulgarian Policies towards the Roma Housing Problem and Roma Squatter Settlements


  • Alexander Slaev


The paper argues that the national and local authorities in Bulgaria do not utilize the vast experience accumulated by many developed and developing countries, the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (UNCHS) and the World Bank in providing housing for the poor and dealing with squatter settlements. Ignoring this experience is a serious omission, which has resulted in a typically inefficient, top-down 'slum eradication' policy. New large-scale projects funded under European programmes also follow this flawed approach. The research identifies several important factors which could inform the development of better policies. For example, it stresses the existing extremely high rate of uncontrolled construction of robust housing made with reinforced concrete in the Roma neighbourhoods. The paper concludes that this is a critical factor, which has become the major threat to living conditions and leaves no other alternative but to regularize the settlements and develop streets and other infrastructure. Yet these high rates of construction serve as evidence that Roma households are capable of contributing to the solution of their own housing problems if only their development initiative is encouraged in the proper direction.

Suggested Citation

  • Alexander Slaev, 2007. "Bulgarian Policies towards the Roma Housing Problem and Roma Squatter Settlements," European Journal of Housing Policy, Taylor and Francis Journals, vol. 7(1), pages 63-84.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:eurjhp:v:7:y:2007:i:1:p:63-84
    DOI: 10.1080/14616710601134753

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