Keywords: Housing policy; Social housing; Ideational approach; Policy persistence.
Since the 1970s, in Italy, the owner occupied sector has been constantly growing and social housing construction has sharply declined. Moreover, the public intervention of Italian governments has traditionally privileged property subsidies over the development of a large socially rented housing sector, whose dimension is marginal. Over the last two decades the devolution process has shifted the main responsibility for housing policy from the state to the regions, in a period of growing demand of socially rented houses. In this context regional governments have tried to reform the public housing sector to increase its efficiency. This article analyses the development of the housing policy in Tuscany, focusing on the implementation of a regional reform of the late 1990s in the Province of Pisa. By doing so, this work shows how new policy ideas and old institutional practices interacted and shaped the elements of change and continuity which characterise this sector.