Various social evolutions (smaller families, job insecurity, relationship insecurity, banking crisis, energy crisis, etc.) are making it more difficult not only to buy property, but also to rent. The city is a context in constant evolution: an environment where more and more and more diverse people find their home, but where the financialization of the housing market also puts pressure on the affordability of housing. Where top-down and bottom-up approaches are sought to make and keep housing possible and attractive.
But it is also the place where inequalities in society and the excesses of our (economic) system become most visible. How can housing be just that again: housing in the city? How to house more and better and win the fight for the right to a home?
Sensible densification, topping up or building inside building blocks, goes against the current trend of de-densification and opening up space in the city. Good practices that show the possible qualities of densification through renovation of the small grain fabric in our cities can inspire us. A need remains for residential and urban projects of large size and scale. The strong population growth expectations cannot be solved with ground-level housing alone. The housing issues make us look at other forms of housing, which can potentially be higher, compact and collective. In addition to social changes, there are also technological developments, changing climatic conditions, immigration movements of war and climate refugees. Nothing is certain anymore. The home as a financial speculative product must be curbed. New financing and management models are emerging. Never before have there been so many proposals for cooperative organisations, for hybrid housing ideas, for collective housing with resident participation, … What about the rising need for care housing? What about the increasing poverty? What about the continuing ageing population? How can we reach a broader housing offer, a more inclusive and diverse housing model, simply better housing quality? How can we think about the challenges for housing policy, which must focus fully on housing quality in addition to affordability? How can everyone find their place on the housing market?
There is a need for knowledge building, there is a need for a broader debate on the current housing challenge. We must investigate how we can make more city for all the inhabitants in the existing cities, how we can house more … We will investigate the housing issue from various angles: housing typologies, housing experiments, pilot projects, modular construction, new management models, care housing , collective housing, social housing, the use of historical housing models, large-scale renovation, bottom-up initiatives, smart densification, and so on. We won’t solve the housing issue this year, but are happy to listen to numerous voices with examples on different scales, from home and abroad, past and present. We will look for inspiration and courage to take up housing as one of the great challenges for society. We are looking for ‘more than housing´
Hera Van Sande