The aftermath of the 2007 Global Financial Crisis continues to impact European citizens, compounded by the effects of COVID-19 (2020-2021) and inflation crises in 2022. The ongoing process of urbanisation, rural depopulation, and a shortage of social and affordable housing have contributed to housing unaffordability in major European urban areas. However, the distinction between true "housing" (with clear title, stability, quality, and adequacy) and "provisional shelter" has become increasingly blurred. The Liquid Housing Lab will focus on the concept of "liquid housing," stemming from these crises and characterised by the idea that almost anything can be considered adequate housing. The primary goal of the pilot project is to provide empirical evidence, raise awareness, and propose solutions to address the complex issue of liquid housing, preserving the rights and dignity of those affected.

Key Features

Tarragona is a city with more than 2200 years of antiquity and a population close to 150,000 inhabitants, located in Catalonia, Spain. Its strategic location on the shores of the Mediterranean has played a pivotal role in shaping its identity as a vibrant city. As the economic nucleus of Catalonia's second-largest economic region, Tarragona thrives on a diverse array of industries, particularly in chemicals and manufacturing. The services and industries make Tarragona the second most economically developed area in Catalonia after Barcelona. Additionally, it is a university city. The city's urban design reflects its ancient roots, juxtaposed with modern developments, creating a dynamic and inviting atmosphere. It is a unique cultural destination, well complemented by its gastronomy and urban and commercial layout.

Main Challenges

This lab will address the concept of “Liquid Housing” applied to social groups most at risk of social and housing exclusion. The lab will focus on the following challenges: 

  • Provide analytical insight into the patterns and dynamics of “liquid housing” in view of the cross-cutting nature of this phenomenon encompassing not only the individual factors of households, such as income, land tenure or housing related costs, but also other hidden aspects, hard-to-measure and undocumented dimensions, that cannot be detected through quantitative analysis (e.g. the influence of household income, building location, energy poverty, gender or migration policies or the needs of rehabilitation in the types of liquid housing).  
  • Enrich co-creation and participatory processes for planning, implementing and reframing housing policies to properly address the types of “liquid housing”, while fostering engagement of multi-level stakeholders and empowering citizens in addressing the "liquid housing" phenomenon. 
  • Provide local and regional policymakers with solutions based on best practices to support the implementation of affordable and inclusive housing policies to address the “liquid housing” phenomenon.


The focus of the lab relates to social groups most vulnerable to social and housing exclusion. The lab aims to examine how policy and urban dynamics intersect with various social groups, evaluating the effectiveness of policies in addressing liquid housing issues. Central to the lab are stakeholders from diverse policy fields, particularly those empowered to develop policies and execute programs to mitigate inequalities. The lab will build upon personal stories, data gathered through interviews and co-creation events from the perspective of stakeholders and civil society groups —including strategic policy officials, politicians, housing market associations, community groups, NGOs, and social landlords. Guided by Foresight methodology, the lab will pilot potential solutions at the local level alongside policymakers to assess feasibility in terms of competencies, legal frameworks, and local authority resources. This process aims to identify effective strategies while highlighting areas requiring reconsideration or adaptation for fostering more resilient urban development.