Closer Cities is joined by student Dimitris Papadopoulos from Greece

Dimitris Papadopoulos, a student at the Department of Geodata Engineering at the National Technical University of Athens, is researching homelessness policies between cities. Because of his interest in urban topics, he is now writing his master's thesis on comparing homelessness policies of the cities Athens, Greece and Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Dimitris delves into the nuances of how and why different countries approach the same societal issue in different ways. He aspires to construct a bridge of communication between cities, facilitating a platform for the exchange of best practices and innovative solutions, for a more inclusive and supportive urban environment.

Sheltering the Vulnerable: Different Homelessness Policies in Greece and the Netherlands

Dimitris' research delves into homelessness policies, with a specialised emphasis on juxtaposing the urban landscapes of Athens and Rotterdam. The significance of this thesis lies in its mission to illuminate the pervasive issue of homelessness, fostering a dialogue among policymakers and stakeholders. By facilitating the exchange of insights and ideas, this study aims to address a pressing global concern that resonates with cities worldwide.

Research Approach

Dimitris' research design encompasses two primary components. The first segment entails a thorough theoretical investigation, wherein he meticulously examines existing homelessness policies from a global, European, and national standpoint. In the subsequent part of his thesis, Dimitris will undertake a series of interviews to discern the distinctive characteristics and needs of individuals experiencing homelessness, as well as to unravel the causal factors motivating their reluctance to utilise available support structures. These interviews are anticipated to involve municipal bodies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and individuals experiencing housing exclusion.

Preliminary Takeaways

Dimitris' ongoing exploration has begun to unveil the diverse approaches taken by various countries and institutions in addressing similar issues. For example, while the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) encompass strategies to prevent and alleviate severe poverty and hunger across the globe, they notably lack specific mention of homelessness. Another significant insight gleaned from Dimitris' research is the absence of a universally agreed-upon definition of homelessness across Europe. This lack of consensus among countries has resulted in challenges when attempting to accurately measure the extent of the issue and formulate targeted policies to combat it.

Around June 2024, Dimitris is set to unveil the results of his research, promising significant insights into the complexities of homelessness.

Dimitris Papadopoulos