Belgium’s housing policy has always been instrumental in the pillarisation process. As a consequence, two competing historical models have existed: first, a model promoted by the socialist pillar based on social rental housing in urban settings; second, the model put forward by the hegemonic Catholic party, emphasising the promotion of homeownership of single-family dwellings in rural settings. When this second, anti-urban model, became the main housing model for the masses in the post-war period, its spatial layout was one of sprawl and disinvestment in urban neighbourhoods.
However, from the 1970s onwards, various actors have contested this policy. In response, policy makers have turned to a discourse of inner-city social mix. However, this discourse was barely translated into practice and did not affect the hegemonic model. Following Gramsci, this paper analyses how social mix has primarily served as an instrument for passive revolution, by deviating and disempowering counter-hegemonic attacks on the leading model of suburban homeownership.