Urban Case Study: Decreasing residential segregation in Pécs, Hungary

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    Lola Boom
    16 November 2020 - updated 1 week ago
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The challenge

As the largest ethnic minority in Europe, the Roma population have long faced residential segregation.

In Hungary, Roma integration is a sensitive topic with Roma populations experiencing daily discriminations that impact schooling, employment that can result in housing issues, all of which can lead to situations of poverty. With its population of 150,000 inhabitants, Pécs is an interesting representation of the topic. The city counted eight segregated neighbourhoods according to the segregation index of the 2001 Census. The segregation was mostly ongoing in former miner housing colonies. The case study explores how municipal coordination, and NGO coordination, successfully contributed to face the issue hands-on in the city.

How was the level of residential segregation decreased in Pécs?

The answer is multi-factorial and has to stress the importance of coordination between the municipality and the local institutional system in carrying out projects with different resources from EU funded Operational programmes (Programming Period of 2007-2013). Reducing discrimination was also helped by the long-term intensive presence of NGOs that were successful in establishing trust in the marginalised communities. This multi-level cooperation is at the root of the success witnessed in Pécs.

In the implementation phase, between 2012 and 2015, the city benefited from resources from the ESF and EDRF measures resulting in a total of 4.8 million EUR. As a result, one smaller isolated slum outside of the city was fully eliminated. Three other segregated neighbourhoods saw the implementation of upgrading and desegregation measures. In total 30 households were relocated from slums to integrated parts of the city.

The key actions, carried out by NGOs in cooperation with the municipality, included: (1) the mobilisation of Roma communities’ own resources and set up local grassroots organisations; (2) addressing housing insecurity particularly housing cost arrears and the prevalent lack of legal title to housing (3) housing renewal and infrastructure development, as parts of the slums were only equipped with electricity but not with other basic infrastructure (4) people’s employability with training. Next to the municipality, NGOs involved included The Hungarian Charity Service of the Order of Malta, the UNDP and  Roma NGO Khetanipe Association.

To find out more on the topics, and the better regulation of the residential segregation,  the UA Partnership Urban Poverty has developed the following checklist on the topic of the social inclusion of Roma population under its action 11 “Strengthening the desegregation principle in EU urban areas”. You can also read more in the Action Plan section and in the Monitoring Table of Actions

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