Housing Vacancy Outlined with Delphi Survey. Contributions of Participatory Research to a Just Transformation Process on Trial





Housing vacancy, Community-based participatory research, Qualitative Delphi survey, Social diversity as opportunity, Just transformation


Rising housing prices, associated supply gaps and displacement processes have revived the “housing issue” in Germany. This is particularly true for certain social groups socially marginalized by high competition in the housing market. The participatory action research study “Wohnungsleerstand wandeln!”(WohL) - “Worthy places from un-used spaces” examines the coexistence of housing scarcity and housing abundance in a district of the Munich metropolitan area. The goal is to use a participatory multi-method design, including a two-stage qualitative Delphi Survey, to find tailored solutions for the housing situation in each community. The Delphi method was used to reflect the diversity of perspectives in housing as well as the principles of participatory action research such as participation in research, proximity to the field, and capacity building through mutual learning. In the case of sustainable housing solutions, a group discussion process, in which facts are listed by participants (who remain anonymous) without taking into account local social structures, can lead to conclusions that are not accepted by the community. Hence, this paper explains how a Delphi Survey can be designed as a qualitative element of participatory action research. Therefore, the WohL Study and its qualitative Delphi Survey are presented, followed by a methodological reflection on the findings. It becomes clear that consensus and anonymity have to be balanced with solution sustainability. Criteria like the selection of participants, the process of group discussion as well as data collection and analysis have to be adapted to the specific field to be explored. New, diversity-sensitive and method-based approaches to decision making pave the way for a transformation of housing that must imply “vacancies” are to be (re)used, but also that collective decision-making brings “overlooked” groups “back into play.” Ultimately, the essential prerequisite for managing the transformation is the participation of the people of the community.


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How to Cite

Ulrike Fettke, & Elisabeth Wacker. (2023). Housing Vacancy Outlined with Delphi Survey. Contributions of Participatory Research to a Just Transformation Process on Trial . New Trends in Qualitative Research, 16, e784. https://doi.org/10.36367/ntqr.16.2023.e784