Marilena Prisco

Public housing units and ruins: The case of Ponticelli in Naples



This work aims to contribute to the topic of sheltering, highlighting how housing is barely separable from the wider material and temporal dimension of the city. Specifically, the aspect of relocation – in this paper investigated as a deeply socio-material dynamic – is referred to in respect of both people and buildings. Three exempla from the uncompleted housing neighbourhood of Ponticelli, in Naples, are used to investigate the practical and theoretical implications of processes of «habitation» and «ruination» in public housing buildings during relocation. It examines the multiple reasons behind the movement of inhabitants in specific units, and behind the decisions of demolition or renovation of urban material leftovers. The relational approach applied in this study to the «material leftovers» could be expanded also to investigating other cities and geographical locations with a severe need for housing for poor people; to better understanding the role of specific material components and settings for the implementation of housing and relocation regulations; to analysing (at the city-level) institutional policies and actions specific to «people in need», and their bigger impact on the transformation of cities.


  • Public Housing Buildings
  • Habitation
  • Ruination


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