‘When the house burns down’: displacement, precariousness and inhabitation

Camillo Boano, Giovanna Astolfo, Belen Desmaison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Displacement and precarity are two conditions that define our broken world. Acknowledging that any rhetoric of fixity, sustainability, and progress is insufficient and that the only choice is to learn to live with the fragments, the paper reflects on displacement beyond its common form of non-livability and the absence of a future. Offering some diffractions across the spatial narratives of three different territories where we worked–Iquitos in Peru, Bar Elias-Tell Serhoun in Lebanon, and Hlaingtharyar in Yangon–and mobilising the critical work of Berlant, Tsing and Agamben, this paper reframes displacement as the unfinished possibility of inhabiting, a tenacious struggle to resist the violent subtraction of future, space and possibilities, therefore contributing to the wider reflection on the challenge of inhabiting the uninhabitable urban conditions of the present.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Urbanism
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • Displacement
  • inhabitation
  • precariousness


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