Since January 2020, UIA and URBACT have been exploring how cities can design housing policies and practical solutions to implement the right to housing. Coordinated by Laura Colini (UIA and Urbact Expert), the activity builds on UIA and URBACT cities experiences and knowledge to explore innovative solutions and push further the agenda on the right to housing EU wide on 3 specific topics:
- Community-led practices: How can cities build alternative community-led housing models?
- No one left behind: How can cities fight against housing exclusion?
- Fair Finance: How can cities fight against the financialisation of their housing market?
What happened since last October?
UIA and URBACT presented a session at the EU Week of Regions and Cities on cities responses to the COVID crisis in the housing policy field. Indeed, in the last few months, governments across Europe have invested unprecedented efforts to keep safe those at risk, with cities implementing exceptional strategies and measures to keep everyone housed. In some cases, this has nearly reduced homelessness to zero. However, in the aftermath of the peak of the emergency last spring, long-term affordable, suitable and dignified solutions become a mandate that cannot be ignored.
The goal of this session was therefore to explore cities' engagement in housing strategies, and their experiences in practice, bringing several EU-level organisations to the table to discuss housing strategies at urban level.
You can watch the session again here
The last web conference of the series took place on 19 November explored municipal strategies to implement fair finance mechanisms to ensure affordability and inclusion. From UIA, the Yes We Rent! project from Mataró presented its experience with innovative financial mechanisms protecting housing from speculation at local level (provision of social rent, reuse of vacant building). We also heard about the URBACT case of Riga where a taxation system on vacant buildings is being developed. This discussion opened up on a debate in which housing policy researchers and high-level speakers from different EU organizations and also a Member of the European Parliament took the floor to discuss the different levers of action cities have in relation to the financialisation of their housing market.
Laura Colini and Ivan Tosics tell you more in this follow-up article.
As the series of web conferences has now ended, reaching a great success and much interest across European institutions, initiatives, associations and cities, 2021 first semester will be dedicated to collect the knowledge generated by the activity and to disseminate it widely. To achieve this, URBACT-UIA are building a common platform bringing together the main lessons learned across 2020, more insights on projects and initiatives on which we built the activity.