Cities engaging on the right to housing

Location: Despachantes, Alfandega
Date: Fri, January 31
Time: 9:00 AM - 10:20 AM

Joint Session Urban Innovative Actions/URBACT

In many cities throughout Europe, house prices and rents are increasing whilst living standards continue to stagnate. According to Eurostat, 82 million people in Europe are spending more than 40 % of their income on rent. And yet, globally, the real estate sector builds more wealth than any other sector, representing more than 3.5 times the total global GDP (with “residential” real estate accounting for more than two-thirds.)

Today, more European cities and social movements are calling governments at all levels to take responsibility for reaffirming housing as a right and not as a commodity. They are also showing the way by trying out concrete actions to implement the right to housing.

This workshop is the first of a series exploring the role of cities in working to implement this fundamental right. Building on the experience of UIA and URBACT cities, the EU urban agenda partnerships, practitioners and activists, it will explore collective, cooperative, social and municipal-led initiatives, as well as strategies preventing speculation on land and housing  in European cities.

This session will introduce the main questions that that will be explored by the UIA/URBACT joint activity in the upcoming months and showcase some inspiring examples.

Moderation: Laura Colini, UIA & URBACT expert

9.00 – 9.10

Welcome and introduction – introducing housing UIA-URBACT capitalisation activity on housing

Nuala Morgan, URBACT

Raffaele Barbato, UIA

9.10 – 9.25

Municipal strategies for housing – the EU UA Affordable housing partnership

Merja Haapakka, European Commission - DG REGIO

Michaela Kauer, City of Vienna, Co-Coordinator EU UA Affordable housing partnership

9.25 – 9.35

Introduction to the topics and the corners

The discussions aim at identifying key questions and points for each of the sub-topics of the capitalisation activity

Laura Colini, UIA & URBACT expert

9.35 – 10.15


Addressing shared ownership, CLT, co-housing, cooperative housing, remunicipalisation of housing et al.

Arthur Cady, Brussels Capital Region, UIA CALICO

Michalis Goudis, Housing Europe

Levente Polyak, UIA


Addressing specific issues of accessibility to adequate housing by vulnerable groups with a focus on homelessness, ethnic minority, gender, disability et al.

Strefania Gyftopoulou, City of Athens, UIA Curing the Limbo

Irmine Vermandere, City of Ghent, URBACT ROOF

Freek Spinnewijn, FEANTSA


Addressing municipal strategies protecting housing from speculation (provision of social rent, rent regulation, reuse of vacant building, short term rental regulation…)

Maite Arrondo, City of Barcelona

Andrea Colantonio, European Investment Bank

10.15 – 10.20

Next steps and conclusion

Laura Colini, UIA & URBACT expert

End of the session

Parallel Workshop

Despachantes Hall