In From House to Home: Social Control and Emancipation in Portuguese Public Housing, 1926–76, Nelson Mota considers public housing policies in Portugal under the dictatorship that ruled there from 1926 to 1974 and during the two years that followed the democratic revolution of April 1974. He reviews key legislative initiatives and projects to show how the dictatorship's policies effectively commodified housing, exerted government control over the working class, and largely excluded the urban poor from the housing market. By contrast, programs developed under the postrevolutionary Serviço de Apoio Ambulatório Local, or SAAL, promoted self-help initiatives that aimed to improve housing conditions for Portugal's poorest citizens, thus securing their economic and social independence and their right to occupy urban space. During the “SAAL spring,” Mota concludes, building homes became more important than selling houses.

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