The forms of use of housing are increasingly varied. This variety is little reflected in the dichotomy occupied/empty that characterizes studies and policies on the subject. Indeed, occupied homes and empty houses constitute a geography that is anything but sedentary like the goods that host this condition. Empty houses are as much a natural element of the local market as they are a potential alarm for troubling processes, such as urban decline, speculation, or overproduction. The following essay systematizes the vast literature on the subject, highlighting some questions that deserve to be addressed in the context of public policies. Starting from a reflection on the roles and meanings of abandoned, vacant and underused properties, the article critically addresses some misunderstandings and ambiguities that have long had a significant impact on the public and political debate.
Keywords: housing emptiness; vacancy; abandonment; empty homes