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European High-level Roundtable on Housing

Bridging the Gap in Affordable Housing

Lyon, 7 June 2019Save the date

Housing Europe joins forces with the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the European Committee of the Regions and the Metropolitan Region of Lyon for a high-level Roundtable discussion as part of the 2nd International Social Housing Festival | June 7th, 11.30-16.30 at the Catholic University of Lyon (UCLY), Campus St. Jean, Place des Archives.

Housing affordability is currently one of the most complex policy challenges our societies in Europe are faced with. Although housing is without any doubt at the top of the political agenda, different levels of policy-making are struggling to identify and implement solutions to this challenge. This is particularly the case for major cities where the mismatch between supply and demand is most extreme.

Building on the efforts of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe which endorsed in 2015 the Geneva UN Charter on Sustainable Housing; Action Plan of the Housing Partnership under the Urban Agenda for the European Union, State of Housing Report, Housing Europe and CoR own-initiative report ‘Towards a European Agenda on Housing’ .This high-level roundtable will bring together senior officials responsible for housing and urban affairs, representatives of local authorities and housing providers, experts and representatives of international organisations to discuss and exchange experiences on how to move forward in bridging the gap in affordable housing.

The event will also launch work of the European Review Panel on Affordable Housing; the Panel consisting of experts in housing policies in Europe is expected to produce an overview of the evidence on the situation of housing affordability in Europe and approaches taken to tackle the challenge at the national, international and local levels.

In two panels, the High-Level Roundtable will focus on the following key questions that will be also addressed by the upcoming Review Panel:

  • What are the phenomena/issues which show a problem with housing affordability? How does this manifest in data/trends that can be monitored, i.e., what is the evidence of the lack of affordability of housing in your city or country?
  • What are major causes for the lack of affordable housing?
  • What policy approaches are used to promote affordability?
  • What are the costs and benefits of different policy approaches and how are they measured?
  • What training/technical assistance is required to support affordable housing provision?


11:30-12:00 Opening | Moderator: Cédric Van Styvendael, President of Housing Europe  

Welcome speeches by

  • Julien Denormandie, Ministre chargé de la ville et du logement auprès du ministre de la Cohésion des Territoires (tbc)
  • David Kimelfeld, President of Lyon Metropole (tbc)

Setting the policy scene

  • Elena Szolgayova, Chair of UNECE Committee on Urban Development, Housing and Land Management, UNECE; and Director General, Ministry of Transport and Construction, Slovak Republic
  • Christophe Lalande, Leader, Housing Unit - Housing and Slum Upgrading Branch, UN-Habitat
  • European Committee of the Regions (representative tba)
  • Council of Europe Development Bank (representative tba)
  • European Commission (representative tba)

12:00-13:30 Session 1: Affordable Housing in the world caring for sustainability

Buildings is one of the major sources of carbon emissions. Therefore, housing needs to meet environmental sustainability standards to substantially lower the environmental impact of the buildings sector. This will require the application of innovative financial instruments.

Representatives of national, regional and local governments, international financial institutions, housing providers and other stakeholders will address key issues of decreasing environmental impact of housing and promoting climate neutrality. The participants will share best practices and formulate recommendations for possible solutions and instruments to promote environmental sustainability of housing.

13:30-14:30 Lunch break

14:30-16:00 Session 2: Housing as a service in Welfare 2.0

Putting social inclusion at the heart of affordable housing provision will be essential to meet growing urban challenges such as migration, social exclusion and an ageing population. Dealing with these issues effectively requires stakeholders from different governance levels and sectors to adopt an inclusive and strategic approach to housing. In this context, panellists will be requested to provide their view on how to shift the focus from housing as a mere commodity to housing as service and basic human need.

16:00 – 17:00 Wrap up and conclusions

  • Sorcha Edwards, Housing Europe, Secretary General: presentation of Housing Europe’s Affordability Review
  • Representative of the city of Vienna, Chair of Housing Working Group, EUROCITIES
  • Elena Szolgayova, Chair of UNECE Committee on Urban Development, Housing and Land Management Unit, UNECE