The fifth edition of Urbanpromo Social Housing took place on 15 and 16 October in Turin, Italy. The event was organized by INU (National Institute of Urban Planning) along with URBIT Urbanistica Italiana and was dedicated to social housing operators focusing on regeneration projects with the aim to trigger economic development whilst promoting social cohesion and integration. More than 100 participants took part in the debate including representatives from Federcasa, Confcooperative, Legacoop Abitanti, ANCI, Acre, INU, SiTI and Piedmont Region, as well as many housing experts from all across Italy.
By Marco Corradi*
The Stability Law, recently announced by the Italian Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi includes an extraordinary intervention for public housing: 170 million € will be devoted to energy efficiency measures and improvement of the housing stock.
In addition to this sum for public housing and the extension of the so-called “Ecobonus” - said Riccardo Nencini, Deputy Minister of Infrastructure and Transport who intervened at Urbanpromo Social Housing:
“There should have been also a specific measure for social housing, with a package dedicated to 20-25.000 dwellings, with particular attention to those properties stranded at banks, heritage of those years where it was built too much. We had studied this solution with ANCE (National building companies association), ABI (National association of Backers) and CDP (State bank), which at this point will take a different path; in Italy there are 850 thousand unsuitable dwellings and housing, besides being a national issue, should be considered as a factor of good urban governance to ensure the quality of life of citizens."
During the two days of the event, experiences and proposals for low cost housing were discussed as well as technological innovation initiatives aimed at increasing the quality of living standards while reducing construction and running costs. Good practices and projects were presented in order to trigger joint actions to stimulate the public housing supply.
The audience had the chance to exchange views on possible innovative strategies to tackle the current crisis the construction sector is undergoing. Interesting insights emerged from the presentation of relevant experiences of social housing operators in some major urban areas, where national interventions served as a leverage effect to trigger widespread urban regeneration projects.
Many round tables and working groups followed on social management and on the growing demand for social housing; these issues were specifically addressed by the banking foundations as well as by non-profit organizations present. Particularly, the first day was devoted to assess the state of implementation of the national plan on housing that was kicked off in 2009 (session organized by CDPI Sgr and focused on the experience of the FIA – investments fund for housing) and the relationship between urban planning and social housing (by INU).
In addition, the Housing Programme of the Compagnia di San Paolo has organized a meeting on ICT devices, being useful tools to support the development of communities and living standards. Also SiTI (Institute on Territorial Systems for Innovation) has dedicated a seminar to the theme of social housing and sustainability, in particular by exploring synergies between the public and private sector and possible tools to be used for a proper design of housing social projects.Read More
The second day was devoted to the discussion around financing mechanisms for social housing: the presentation of the progress made concerning the regeneration of public buildings with the example of a former tobacco factory in Turin and the Fimit factory were given as concrete examples of effective housing policy to be helpfully replicated at national scale.
Significant contributions were also given by the Foundation Development and Growth CRT with CDPI Sgr concerning the development of rating models for social performance assessment and management. Additional discussion points have emerged during the presentations of recent publications on social housing made by the authors and debated with experts.
The plenary session that concluded the work outlined an efficient synthesis on current national and regional housing policies and trends.
* Marco Corradi is President of ACER Regio Emilia and a Board Member of Housing Europe