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.