“Houses of Cards? The Rules and Institutions of Housing Illegality in Western Countries” is a symposium aiming at investigating different kinds of housing illegality in the West (Europe, Americas and Australasia) from the viewpoint of their interaction with the broader institutional framework in which they are situated. The multifaceted connection of informal practices in the field of housing with different layers of both public (e.g. planning and building laws, practice by street-level bureaucrats) and non-public (e.g. informal rules established by criminal organizations, shared social norms in specific informal environment institutions), and the resulting politics of housing informality are under scrutiny in particular. Contributions reflecting on the changing nature of housing illegality and meanings of legal housing at times of global pandemic would also be considered.

The symposium is composed of two related events. First, a virtual conference that will be held on 19, 20 and 21 April 2021. Second, a smaller in-person workshop at the University of Cambridge in Autumn 2021. Some of the contributors presenting at the virtual conference in April 2021 will be invited to take part in the in-person workshop, which will finalise with the development of a scientific publication


The symposium is organized by Sabina Maslova (University of Cambridge) and Francesco Chiodelli (University of Turin).

It is supported by: