The growth of speculative building in Greece : modes of housing production and socioeconomic change, 1950-1974
During the postwar period the economy of urban housing in Greece has undergone a major transformation. The great bulk of housebuilding in the 1950's could be described as "precapitalist". "Speculative" building, i.e. the production of housing as a commodity for the market under the control of capitalists, prevailed, albeit in ~ rather primitive form, in the limited sector of middle-class apartment housing. By the 1970's, however, the latter economic form has grown into the dominant mode of housing production and distribution. The generality and significance of this transformation for the early stages of capitalist urbanisation has seldom been recognised. Thus, the study begins with a theoretical model of the different modes of housing production and housing sectors relevant to such a historical context, and the concept of the "dual" system where both speculative-capitalist and precapitalist modes operate. Analysis of postwar housebuilding on the basis of this model establishes rigorously the extent, character, and sociospatial correlates of each mode. It is argued that popular precapitalist owner-building is not reducible to a residual phenomenon of socially marginal "squatter" housing, but constitutes a major historical form based on distinctive aspects of Greek society and autonomy vis-a-vis capitalist relations and modern administrative controls. Thus, the decline of this sector has not been the outcome of voluntary assimilation into the market but the result of political and economic constraints. This hypothesis is corroborated by a detailed analysis of demand and allocation of housing in Athens. Given the decline in the role of precapitalist housing, the growth of speculative building is a corollary of trends in aggregate residential investment. The rest of the study examines the formation of the latter, first, in relation to the pattern of Greek economic development, and then, with the help of a model of household behaviour and the economics of the early capitalist housing system as a whole.