INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE

4-5 December 2018, Vienna

Wiener Wohnen, Rosa-Fischer-Gasse 2, 1030 Vienna

Thank you for joining our conference!

It was a great pleasure for us to have around 300 participants from 36 nations with us.
Thanks for the fruitful discussions and contributions!

 

300 Participants 

36 Nations

40 Journalists

1.600 Postings

Why it’s that important …

… to talk about affordable, adequate housing
in growing cities with the representatives of the EU?

 

Dr. Orna Rosenfeld, Housing Policy Advisor serving international organisations, Adjunct Professor at Sciences Po Paris, talked about the challenges for affordable housing in Europe.

Europe’s Housing Crisis

Adequate housing is a human right and the basis of social cohesion and social peace. Official data shows that more and more Europeans are at risk of housing exclusion. Levels of homelessness are increasing all over Europe. Housing has become the highest expenditure for European citizens. Rents and house prices are growing faster than the income in the majority of EU member states. There is no end in sight. Since the economic crisis 2007/2008 there has been an alarming decline of investment in affordable and adequate housing in Europe. The legal uncertainty and lack of clarity caused by current EU state aid regulations are barriers to public and private investment in affordable housing. Therefore, improved housing policies are required. In particular better financing and regulations and knowledge exchange.

”Housing is a human right – not a commodity”

Leilani Farha, since 2014 the UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing, emphasises. At the conference, the Canadian lawyer and activist presented her initiative “Make the Shift”, which is to support municipalities and city administrations in responding rapidly to this negative development. “The speed and extent to which financial enterprises and funds take over housing space and real estate, causing a lack of affordability as well as crowding-out effects and homelessness in the cities, are staggering. Housing is a key issue of the 21st century”, Farha comments. “Cities are drivers of national economies. It is hence in the interests of all levels of government to co-operate in order to safeguard adequate and affordable housing, thereby protecting what makes cities great: diversity and inclusion." Leilani Farha calls upon municipal administrations to support and sign the declaration “Cities for Adequate Housing”. Before her speech the video "The Push" was shown.

Leilani Farha, the UN Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing, hold the keynote at the conference and presented her initiative "The Shift”

Michael Ludwig, Mayor of Vienna, said that cities need adequate frame conditions – above all to boost investment in affordable housing.

"Housing is a public task"

„Cities are the engine that drives Europe’s development; two thirds of the EU population live in cities. For this reason, cities assume a decisive role for the project of European integration. In particular, they are called upon to act in order to cope with global challenges, social inclusion and economic development. Therefore cities need adequate frame conditions – above all to boost investment in affordable housing”, as Michael Ludwig, Mayor of the City of Vienna, affirms. “After all, the free market will never supply broad strata of the population with affordable housing. Specific policies are therefore needed to attain this goal. The ‘Partnership on Housing’ within the scope of the EU Urban Agenda has developed concrete legislative proposals for the EU Commission, which will be presented today here in Vienna and which should be implemented without delay. Now it is the turn of the EU legislators – and of the European Commission, all EU Member States and the European Parliament. Europe must act now and take measures to combat undesirable developments in Europe’s housing markets”, Ludwig continues.

 

 

 

 

What was the conference about?

 

 

Requirements to be met by the EU legislators have been formulated at the end of the conference - from the perspective of the employees, the housing providers, the consumers, the cities and the member states.

Better housing policies for Europe

Which legal and financial conditions are necessary in Europe to increase investment in affordable housing? Which benefits does affordable housing provide for European cities and the economy? - At the Vienna conference mayors and other representatives from cities and municipalities, housing providers, tenants’ representatives and also experts will discussed better housing policies and ways out of the crisis with representatives from EU institutions. Towards the end of the conference, requirements for EU legislators have been formulated from the point of view of member states, cities, municipalities, housing providers, trade unions and tenants` representatives. 

Final conference of the EU Urban Agenda - Housing Partnership

More than 70 percent of the European inhabitants live in cities. Urban areas are the places where social challenges such as immigration and integration, homelessness, segregation, poverty, unemployment are concentrated and have to be solved. Urban authorities know the needs of the citizens and are often the level of government closest to them. To strengthen the cities’ voice in the governance process of the EU the EU Urban Agenda was established in 2016 (by the Ministers Responsible for Urban Matters in Amsterdam). By focusing on concrete priority themes within dedicated Partnerships, the Urban Agenda seeks to improve the quality of life in urban areas. The Housing Partnership deals with the challenges of affordable housing. It is a cooperation of cities, Member States, EU institutions, users’ and consumers’, providers’ and producers’ organization on European scale., The Vienna conference was the final conference of the Housing Partnership. The results contain recommendations addressed to the EU legislator particular with regard to the desideratum of greater scope for investment to be granted to cities.

The members of the EU Urban Agenda Housing Partnership presented their findings and demand greater awareness at the EU level for the housing crisis.

Kathrin Gaál, Vienna`s Councillor for Women’s Issues and Housing, said: "We in Vienna view housing as a fundamental right and regard it as a public task!"

The Vienna Model as a best practice for Europe

62 percent of Vienna’s inhabitants live in subsidised dwellings, i.e. in 220,000 municipal flats or over 200,000 subsidised flats located all over Vienna. Contrary to most other European metropolises, Vienna has not privatised its stock of municipally-owned dwellings. ”Many concerns that we advocate at the European level in a leading position have already been successfully implemented by Vienna. We in Vienna view housing as a fundamental right and regard it as a public task to create a sufficient volume of affordable housing. The great number of subsidised dwellings as well as the comprehensive investments undertaken in the field of housing rehabilitation have a price-damping effect on the housing market as a whole”, Vienna’s City Councillor Housing Kathrin Gaál commented. ”In the areas of subsidised housing construction and municipal flats, there are no real-estate agent’s commissions, no location premiums and no re-rental effects causing rents to skyrocket. There are only unlimited tenancy contracts and capped rants – this is a situation that exists nowhere else to this extent. Since income thresholds for these flats were deliberately set relatively high, broad middle-class strata, too, have access to these flats, with net rents of 4 to 5 Euros per square metre. This is the biggest subsidy extended to the middle classes”, Gaál explained.

Decreasing housing costs

Laia Ortiz , Deputy Mayor of Barcelona, a founding member of EUROCITIES, the network of major European cities that for years has been campaigning for better frame conditions, draws attention to the exclusion of many persons from the housing market, “The EU must give priority to the right to housing and ensure that cities are prepared for coping with the housing crisis. The cities cannot do all of this on their own. We need the EU to provide all resources and mechanisms for cities in order to attain this goal. Otherwise, homelessness and marginalisation will further increase in Europe’s cities.” A comprehensive support and rehabilitation programme for socially disadvantaged neighbourhoods is underway in Lisbon.

Rui Neves Bochmann Franco , Deputy City Councillor for Housing of the Portuguese capital and a member of the Partnership on Housing, comments, “Lisbon is faced with big challenges caused by tourism platforms and global real-estate investors. At the same time, we are trying to create new perspectives by e.g. promoting neighbourhood developments.” He, too, believes that action at the EU level is required and identifies a great demand for exchange tools and platforms for cities . “We also call for a new definition of what constitutes housing cost overburden” , Rui Neves Bochmann Franco adds

„The EU must give priority to the right to housing and ensure that cities are prepared for coping with the housing crisis“, said Laia Ortiz , Deputy Mayor of Barcelona.

 

 

 

Who were the speakers?

PROGRAMME

Conference

08:00 am

Registration

coffee and networking

09:30 am

Welcome to Vienna

Michael Ludwig, Mayor of Vienna

09:45 am

Welcome

Kathrin Gaál, City Councillor for Women`s Issues and Housing, Vienna

10:00 am

Keynote

Leilani Farha, initiative #maketheshift!, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing

10:30 am

The challenges of affordable housing in Europe

Orna Rosenfeld, Housing policy advisor serving international organisations, Adjunct Professor at Sciences Po Paris

 

 

11:00 am

European round table

Which legal and financial conditions are needed in Europe to increase investment in affordable housing?

Jörg Wojahn, Representative of the European Commission in Austria
Evelyn Regner, Member of the European Parliament (S&D)
Nicolaas Beets, Dutch Special Urban Envoy
Kieran McCarthy, Member of EU Committee of the Regions, Councillor of the City of Cork, Ireland

Presenter: Heidrun Maier-de Kruijff

11:45 am –12:15 pm

Coffee break

12:15 pm

Presentation of the findings of the EU Urban Agenda - Housing Partnership

Elena Szolgayová, Coordinator, Ministry of Transport, Construction and Regional Development, Slovakia
Michaela Kauer, Co-Coordinator, Department for European Affairs, Vienna

Reactions:

Housing provider

Josef Ostermayer, CEO Sozialbau AG

Tenants’ Representative
Barbara Steenbergen, International Union of Tenants

1:00 pm

Lunch and marketplace

exploring „The Vienna Model of Social Housing“

2:00 pm

Findings of the study: „The Public Values of Social Housing – a comparison between Vienna and Amsterdam“

Friedrich Schneider, Research Institute of Banking and Finance, Kepler University Linz

Response:
Kees Dignum, Coordinator Research & Development, Housing Department City of Amsterdam
Kurt Stürzenbecher, Member of City Council of Vienna, Chair of the Committee on Housing

3:15 pm

Requirements to be met by the European legislators - What`s next?

Employees` perspective: Christian Meidlinger, Trade Union of Municipal Employees

Providers` Perspective: Cédric Van Styvendael, Housing Europe

Consumers` Perspective: Barbara Steenbergen, International Union of Tenants

Cities` Perspective: Rui Neves Bochmann Franco, Deputy City Councillor, Lisbon and
Michaela Kauer, Co-Coordinator of the EU Urban Agenda – Housing Partnership, Vienna

Member States` Perspective: Elena Szolgayová, Co-Coordinator of the EU Urban Agenda – Housing Partnership, Vienna

Presenter: Sébastien Garnier

Reflections and summary:
Claudio Acioly, UN Habitat - Head of Capacity Building

4:30 pm

Close the conference

4:50 pm

Take the subway to the city hall "Rathaus". Visit the exhibition “The Vienna Modelat Planungswerkstatt, Friedrich-Schmidt-Platz  9 (near the city hall) and/or visit the Christmas Market in front of the city hall.

7:00 pm

Official reception of the mayor at the Viennese city hall

 

Study Visits

9:30

Welcome to Wiener Wohnen, Introduction of the Viennese model of social housing

Karin Ramser, CEO of Stadt Wien - Wiener Wohnen

10:00

Select one of those study visits:

1) The "Sonnwendviertel" – a completely new urban district

Information about land policy, new construction, developers’ competition and smart housing.

2) Visit the “Rabenhof” – municipal housing, community work and conflict management

Information about municipal housing its history and “Wiener Wohnen”, “wohnpartner” and conflict management.

3) Smarter Together: a holistic smart city urban renewal project within Horizon 2020

Information about urban renewal, new partnerships climate and social goals of Vienna as a smart city.

4) Tenants’ protection and services

Information about the free of charge support for tenants in case of harassment or threat of eviction

13:15

Lunch at Wiener Wohnen

14:15

Select one of those study visits

1) The "Sonnwendviertel" – a completely new urban district

Information about land policy, new construction, developers’ competition and smart housing.

2) Visit the “Rabenhof” – municipal housing, community work and conflict management

Information about municipal housing its history and “Wiener Wohnen”, “wohnpartner” and conflict management.

3) Smarter Together: a holistic smart city urban renewal project within Horizon 2020

Information about urban renewal, new partnerships climate and social goals of Vienna as a smart city.

4) Tenants’ protection and services

Information about the free of charge support for tenants in case of harassment or threat of eviction

5) Wohnberatung Wien – How to apply for a municipal/subsidized flat?

Information about the one stop shop “Wohnberatung Wien”, criteria of access for municipal/subsidised housing, from application to confirmation

16:45

End of the event

 

What People Say about
Affordable Housing

Subsidised housing must be accessible for broad levels of the population today and in the future.

Susanne Bauer
chair of Eurocities - Working Group Housing

Decent, affordable non-profit Housing - Vienna shows that this is not just an aspiration. We can make it happen.

Sorcha Edwards
Housing Europe, Federation of Public, Cooperative and Social Housing

What makes Vienna unique is that you cannot tell how much someone earns simply by looking at their home address.

Kathrin Gaál
City Councillor for Women’s Issues and Housing, Vienna

Affordable Housing is the key to ending homelessness. It’s as simple as that.

Mag.a DSAin Elisabeth Hammer
CEO neunerhaus, Chairwoman BAWO

Affordable housing is a key to social cohesion and sustainable development, like the Vienna example shows.

Michaela Kauer
co-coordinator of the EU Urban Agenda – Housing Partnership, Vienna

Der Zuzug in Wiens schönsten Bezirk, die Donaustadt ist ungebrochen – mit dem sozialen Wohnbau gibt es auch für die vielen jungen Familien eine Chance auf leistbares und gleichzeitig hochwertiges Wohnen.

Ernst Nevrivy
Bezirksvorsteher des 22. Wiener Gemeindebezirks – Donaustadt

More than 60% of Viennese residents live in subsidized housing or in municipal flats. Affordable housing is a fundamental human need to ensure the social cohesion in our livable city.

Barbara Novak
Member of the City Council, Vienna

A self-determined life for women is on top of my political agenda. Affordable housing is an essential prerequisite to achieve this. 

Astrid Rompolt
Vice District Chair of the 2nd district, Vienna

Housing Matters. Access to housing shapes and decides our common future.

Dr. Orna Rosenfeld
Housing Expert at the European Commission & Sciences Po Paris

We need rent control and more social housing to create fair and open housing markets for the people.

Barbara Steenbergen
International Union of Tenants, Head of EU liaison office

Affordable housing is a key factor in leading a good life! Thank you for the initiative, I wish the participants of the conference an exciting exchange of experience!

Wolfgang Katzian
President of the Austrian Trade Union Federation (ÖGB)

Social and affordable housing is essential to stabilize and to improve our malfunctioning housing markets.

Javier Burón
Barcelona City Council  - Housing Manager

The availability of affordable housing options at scale and diversity in size, location, standard, price and tenure is critical for the sustainability of cities and for the realization of the New Urban Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goal 11 of the Agenda 2030.

Claudio Acioly
Head of Capacity Building of UN-Habitat

For our cities to function properly, affordable housing is an infrastructure as vital as the street themselves.

Ada Colau
Mayor of Barcelona

Wien ist die lebenswerteste Stadt der Welt und gleichzeitig Vorbild für den sozialen Wohnbau. Von uns kann ganz Europa lernen.

Evelyn Regner
Mitglied des Europäischen Parlaments

Vienna creates affordable housing in the centre of the city! This is a 'dream not come true' for many in other cities of the world.

Eugen Freund
Member of the European Parliament

For nearly 100 years, municipal housing has been helping to maintain social peace in Vienna. Wiener Wohnen is making every effort to preserve the institution of the ‘Gemeindebau’ also for future generations.

Karin Ramser
CEO of Stadt Wien - Wiener Wohnen 

Als Tirolerin weiß ich, wie schlimm es um Innsbrucks Mieten steht. Wir müssen uns gemeinsam dafür einsetzen, dass Wohnen in Europa bezahlbar bleibt und mehr Geld in den sozialen Wohnbau gesteckt wird.

Karoline Graswander-Hainz
Mitglied des Europäischen Parlaments

The Housing Partnership is a very relevant toolkit of ideas with a total of 13 Actions covering the three themes of the EU Urban Agenda. Such work can inform solutions for Affordable housing across the EU. There is no corner of the Union whereby the provision of affordable housing is not needed.

Kieran McCarthy
Member of the European Committee of the Regions (COR)

Adequate housing is the foundation of a socially integrated society.

Heidrun Maier-de-Kruijfz
Managing Director at the VÖWG

The limited-profit housing sector and the City of Vienna - this is a close an reliable partnership for affordable an quality living for broad sections of the population.

Josef Ostermayer
Director of Sozialbau AG

Affordable housing is the answer to a lot of social challenges.

Elena Szolgayová
Coordinator of the EU Urban Agenda Housing Partnership, Slovakia, Ministry of Transport, Construction and Regional Development

Video Channel

 

Orna Rosenfeld

Knut Hoeller

Agata Krause

Laurent Ghekiere

Sašo Rink

Ronald Paping

Sorcha Edwards

Karin Zauner

Michaela Kauner

Beate Ginzel

Sébastien Garnier

Heike Opitz