Is There Room for Families in the Inner City? Life-Stage Blenders Challenging Planning

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38 Citations (Scopus)


This paper addresses the phenomenon of families returning to inner cities. With evidence from the first qualitative study done on families residing in inner-city Helsinki, it demonstrates that urban living reduces the sharp divide between life before having children and family life. Urban parents stay in the city much for the same reasons they first moved there: because they are attracted to population density, good amenities and good public transport. Living in the city enables a lifestyle where different life stages blend into each other. The paper, however, reveals that there is a lack of understanding among city planners and politicians about family needs in the inner city. By adopting a framework of the reviewed literature, the paper draws on the argument that modernist ideals on proper family living still prevail. The paper suggests that planning must acknowledge that exclusionary life stages are eroding and creating a need to facilitate multiple forms of lifestyles.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)843-861
JournalHousing Studies
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jun 2014
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • family
  • housing; policy
  • housing; studies
  • inner cities
  • liveability
  • urban; planning


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