Today, approximately 80% of people in Europe live in buildings that are thirty years old or more. Around 50% of people live in houses that are fifty years old and more. The possible obsolescence of this housing stock is a critical issue – both across the continent of Europe and beyond.  The reasons for this obsolescence are various: changing lifestyles leave old models of houses outdated; changed demographics mean more single occupiers and an increasingly aged population; in many instances the quality of construction and environmental standards have been superseded by a concern for fuel efficiency and reductions in carbon emissions. In other cases, the communities that once lived closely in old estates and neighbourhoods have crumbled – leaving people in isolation and lacking services.

The complexity of the issues faced in avoiding the obsolescence of our aging housing stock clearly requires critical reflection. Any answers will have to involve an understanding of the architectural, the urban, the technological and the socioeconomic


This conference comes out of a two-year research project financed by the Junta de Andalucía and the European Union. Conducted by the Universidad de Sevilla it examined the obsolescence of Spain’s social housing stock built in the years 1950 – 1970. Expanding our examination to other countries, other epochs, and other housing typologies, the OBSOLESCENCE and RENOVATION conference raises questions that affect both private and public housing stock; the global south and north and both pre and post World War II housing across the world. On that basis, the issues we raise are relevant to architects, planners, interior designers, sociologists, and policy makers across Europe and beyond.

Specific areas of interest include Best Architectural Practices for adaptation;  Best Urban Practices for more inclusive, safer and connected communities; Best Environmental Practices to improve environmental performance; and Best Practices on Policy, Management and Participation.


The conference welcomes case studies; design proposals, research projects, investigative papers and theoretical considerations in various formats:

  • Conference Presentations (20 minutes)
  • Written Papers (3,000 words) *
  • Alternative Proposals Pecha Kucha; short films; photo essays etc.
  • In-person and virtual presentations (via Skype, etc.) are welcome.

Delegates are given the option to present their work at conference either with or without an accompanying full written paper.

  • 3,000 word papers will be published online and later in an e-book. Subject to review, selected authors will be invited to develop longer versions of their papers for Special Issues of the Architecture_MPS journal.

Submission and Registration:

  • For more information: conference[at]
  • Download: Abstract Submission Form1
  • Registration Fee: € 190

This event is organised by the interdisciplinary research group AMPS (Architecture, Media, Politics, Society), its associated journal Architecture_MPS and the University of Seville.  It forms part of the AMPS program of events, Housing – Critical Futures.

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