The World Habitat Day is celebrated on the first day of October since 1986 as per designation of the United Nations. Each year, a new theme brings awareness to the importance of reflecting how concrete initiatives can be implemented to further secure adequate and affordable housing for all, in line with both the Urban Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.
Is our urban world getting less affordable?
According to a recent study by the Lincoln Institute for Land Policy, NYU and UN Habitat, the urban world is getting less affordable than ever before. While housing is a basic human right recognized in many international instruments, ensuring “affordable housing” for all is the cornerstone of SDG11 (SDG 11.1) and the New Urban Agenda specifies that housing is a component “to the right to an adequate standard of living”, current urbanization trends are leaving many ones behind.
At the 2018 session of the High Level Political Forum on the SDGs held in New York in July 2018, UN member States thus recognized that many cities worldwide face “challenges in providing adequate housing and resilient infrastructures.”
At the World Urban Forum in Kuala Lumpur in February 2018, The Affordable Metropolis Series was inaugurated by a networking event entitled The Affordable Metropolis: Turning Density into Prosperity. The session gathered well over 100 participants and 12 speakers from over 10 countries exploring how affordability connects with density and prosperity.
Building on the positive feedback from speakers and participants, FIABCI will launch the initiative A Global Dialogue on Affordable Housing: Policy, Finance, Technology & Sheltering, through a series of meetings being held in Jakarta, Paris, Barcelona and New York. The main topics of the initiative are as follows:
- Policies (municipal, provincial and national) encouraging construction and renovation of affordable housing;
- Financing solutions: public-private partnerships, international financing, crowdfunding, coins, etc.;
- New technologies and materials enabling cheaper and/or faster construction;
- Fast housing and shelters for homeless, transient, migrant or slum populations and natural disaster victims.
In November, FIABCI will release a report based on the information collected and highlighting the most effective solutions gathered during the meetings. This concrete report will be submitted to UN-Habitat and to the World Economic Forum, as well as to all participants to the meetings. Hopefully it will improve the mindsets on affordable housing and encourage private sector actors to get actively involved in order to supplement and/or accelerate what local and national governments are doing to address this issue which is on the top of most countries’ to-do list.
Furthermore, the report will be also presented during the FIABCI Global Business Summit which will be held on December 5-8 in Bali, Indonesia.