Reference : Dwelling trends in border regions – towards an inter-urban discourse analysis
Scientific congresses, symposiums and conference proceedings : Unpublished conference
Social & behavioral sciences, psychology : Human geography & demography
Dwelling trends in border regions – towards an inter-urban discourse analysis
Christmann, Nathalie mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education (FLSHASE) > Identités, Politiques, Sociétés, Espaces (IPSE) >]
Border Regions in Transition Conference
from 17-05-2016 to 20-05-2016
University of Southern Denmark - HafenCity University Hamburg - University of Hamburg
Hamburg – Sønderborg
Germany and Denmark
[en] housing markets in border regions ; discourse and space ; perceptions
[en] Effects of population mobility resulting from uneven development in border regions can be
perceived very differently by city councils or planners and the local population. This paper
focuses on the perceptions of population mobility and dwelling in the Greater Region, a
transnational cross-border polycentric region in Western Europe. The economic development
of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg calls for a constant expansion of the labour market,
attracting cross-border commuters and a ‘highly mobile elite’. The concomitant rises in
property prices as well as the extreme housing shortages in Luxembourg have led to an
expansion of the housing market into the border regions.
“Je t’aime, moi non plus” (I love you… nor do I): this is how the French newspaper
L’Express (02.12.2011; N° 3152: II) summarises the transnational linkages of Luxembourg
with its neighbouring countries. German media and urban planning documents refer to the
‚Luxembourg-effect’, summing up several developments such as cross-border commuting and
related traffic collapses (short distance becomes relative in this concern, because travel time is
increasing extremely in rush hours), the increase of housing costs but also cross-border
shopping etc. On the one hand, the ‘economic engine’ Luxembourg offers workplaces for
many commuters, positively affecting the development of this European cross-border
polycentric region; on the other hand, negative consequences such as the overcrowded real
estate market in Luxembourg continue beyond the national border and affect neighbouring
housing markets. Some city development plans show that city councils perceive the proximity
to Luxembourg as an opportunity for the development of the city. Simultaneously, locals that
do not have their job in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg might feel displaced and develop
resentment vis-à-vis their new neighbours from Luxembourg, Belgium, Germany, and France
that moved to the border region to work in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. These labour
migrants/highly mobile elite bring higher purchasing power and are driving increasing rental
and housing prices. Depending on the context, similar effects can thus be
perceived/constructed very differently by city councils or planners and the local population
and even within the same social world/arena.
Assuming that abstract societal processes become concrete and experienced at the local level,
this paper interrogates the discursive framing of the consequences of the transnational
linkages in regard to housing situations in the Greater Region. To distinct the formation and
the operation of linguistic constructions about places and regions, and their amalgamation
with the practices of actors and institutions, guiding principles of municipal policy, urban
planning documents and the local media of three medium sized towns in the borderland Arlon
in Belgium, Thionville in France and Trier in Germany are being analysed. Furthermore
stakeholder interviews are conducted to gain deeper insights into individual perceptions. Even
though their distance to Luxembourg is quite similar (30 to 50 km), these three cities have to
be considered as single cases, with distinct developments. Whereas Thionville for example is often being considered as a dormitory town, this is not the case for Trier. Nevertheless, a
review of recent media coverage reveals that the situation is characterized by a sort of lovehate
relationship. A social constructionist approach is adopted to trigger an increasing
awareness for the emerging transnational housing market.
FnR ; FNR5558109 > Nathalie Christmann > > Residential migration of Luxembourgish citizens within the Greater Region – An inter-urban discourse analysis > 01/11/2013 > 31/10/2016 > 2013

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