Part of the Housing-Critical Futures Program - 21–22 January 2016, Nicosia, Cyprus

Context: The need to be housed is basic and yet, the forces that produce it in any city of the world are complicated, multiple, contradictory and often conflictive. These forces may be political, military, economic social or technological. Together, they all mean the delivery of housing always takes place against a backdrop of conflicts and conflicting interests that too often means residents are left behind, ignored and, at times, actively targeted as a problem.

Whilst inherently complicated in any context, housing delivery is even more difficult in sites of inherent social, cultural, political and economic sensitivity such as the one that hosts this event, Nicosia / Lefkoşa, the capital of Cyprus. Located in the easternmost part of Europe and the western part of the Middle East, it shares waters with Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt and Israel. It is the only remaining divided capital in the world, with a Greek majority in the south and a Turkish majority in the north. Its banking and financial systems went into meltdown in 2009 and it still operates with two separate national currencies. It is a country with a turbulent history and a socially and economically complicated present.

In such contexts of conflict, conflicting interests and competing forces, how can choice play a role in housing. What kind of choices are available to residents? Without a choice, can people live happy and healthy lives in the houses they inhabit? How do patterns of everyday occupation emerge out of narratives of choices and accident? Why is a sense of choice so important and how is difference in choice regulated? The people making and offering these choices are various: national governments, local authorities, private residents, council tenants, architects deigning houses, builders constructing them and estate agents selling them. How can these conflicting interests be aligned?

Theme: Taking as its starting point the social, political, cultural and economic complexity of its host city, this conference seeks to understand the range of conflicting interests and factors that shape the housing of our towns and cities in both normal and extreme scenarios. It is interested in international cases from politically charged environments of military conflict zones to the socially conflictive contexts of developer led gentrification; from local resident initiatives to globally applicable deign ideas.

Although hosted in a particular geopolitical setting, the issues dealt with resonate further afield and the conference welcomes presentations from any part of the world. Responding to the need for social inclusion, sustainable development, multi-cultural environments and even the latest developments in sciences and technology, this conference will re-think the role of choice and accident in the production of housing and the built environment. It will consider the perspective of developers, architects and politicians

It seeks to better understand how we safeguard the right to choose appropriate housing for all our citizens? How we ensure residents have a voice in design and development? How we guarantee adequate housing is is always an option?… and how we overcome conflicts and conflicting interests to do this?


  • formatsThe conference welcomes case studies; design proposals, research projects, investigative papers and theoretical considerations presented 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 and additional printed books of essays.
  • Participants in the conference are also invited to engage in a design project book series that will include student proposals and the documentation of built works.

Key Dates:

  • 15 September 2015: Abstract Submissions
  • 01 October  2015:  Abstract Feedback
  • 10 January 2015: Full Paper Submissions (where applicable)
  • 21-22 January 2016. Conference
  • 25 February 2016: Feedback for publication
  • 01 April 2016: Publication of Full papers 

This event is organised by the interdisciplinary journal Architecture, Media, Politics, Society, the University of Cyprus and the Cyprus Institute.  It forms part of the AMPS program of events, Housing – Critical Futures. For more details. Visit: