Housing facilities and public shelters for Roma in Rome are expensive, highly segregated, and low quality. They have been justified on the basis of a categorization of Roma as nomads, and been challenged and criticized by Roma rights activists and international organizations. Their regulation and actor system have been object of several judicial inquiries for corruption. But they persist. Mixing different sources (semi-structured interviews, observations, and analysis of budgets) we describe the architecture of different Roma camps in Rome. We relate to four main dimensions of the relations between architecture and the space (boundaries, distribution of objects, permanence, and symbolic orders). Previous research in organizational theory has shown that architecture and interior design have a structuring and enacting power for social relations. To explain the persistence of these architecture forms, and the absence of social innovation, we look at the strategic action fields in which the camps are embedded, discussing the relevance of “invisible” relations.
Vitale, Tommaso et Maestri, Gaja. A sociology of the camps’ persisting architecture. Why did Rome not put an end to expensive ethnic housing policies?. In MENDES, Manuela, SÁ, Teresa, Cabral, João (dir.). Architecture and the Social Sciences. Inter- and Multidisciplinary Approaches between Society and Space. Springer, 2017, p. 197-218.