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“Building strategic alliances, fostering community participation”

Meet five of the finalists of the European Responsible Housing Awards 2019

23 May 2019 | Social, The future of the EU & Housing

Leading up to the 3rd European Responsible Housing Award ceremony taking place in Lyon on June 6th as part of the International Social Housing Festival, we will be showcasing all 25 finalists with their shortlisted projects. “Building strategic alliances, fostering community participation" this means that “no one is an island” and certainly, no (responsible) housing association works in isolation. Good communication and transparency on how and why decisions are taken, between housing associations, local authorities, tenants/residents and other stakeholders, can ensure fairer and more effective collaborations. Check out our finalists below...

Gemeinsam sicher Wohnen” – Living Safely Together – Vienna, Austria

Municipal housing company Wiener Wohnen launched this project, a collaboration between tenants, housing provider and local police, to increase levels of safety and security in the neighbourhood. This involved tenants identifying areas where they feel unsafe, recommendations from crime prevention experts and Wiener Wohnen acting on these during renovation projects.

Susanne Bauer outlines what makes them especially proud of this project:

A particularly important part of the project “Gemeinsam sicher Wohnen” – “Safe and secure housing through social cohesion” is community building. A key success factor is that the different stakeholders get to know one another and develop trust. Together they share knowledge and improve their living environment. Social stability and a safe living environment are the basis of a high quality of life.

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Let’s talk about housing! - Vitoria-Gasteiz

Basque Housing Observatory as part of the Department of Environment, Territorial Planning and Housing, along with 30 other organisation, collaborated on the co-design of public policies, including the guidance plan for housing. In parallel, a new citizen participation and communication platform “Etxebizitza” was formed. These tools have been developed to identify the needs and concerns of people.

Basque Observatory of Housing staff members share with us that,

We are much closer to the concerns and needs of the Basque citizens. We can talk to them in a much less bureaucratic and administrative way. Their contributions make us grow.

Further, a solid structure of trust and participation as well as communication between the stakeholders and citizens of the Basque Country on housing issues and public housing policies has been created.

Our project has consolidated a way of designing policies that we have been already experimenting by means of the different sectorial citizen participation processes that we launched. But now it is a way of working internally, inclusively and collaboratively, in which, any new regulation, programme or subsidy initiative, must be accompanied in parallel by the public opinion.

In addition, it is a platform where citizens, professionals and the media can send us their suggestions, requests or simply comment on the articles we publish or communicate with us on our social networks.

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Huis Assendorp: full of life – Utrecht, Netherlands

Housing corporation Habion’s wished to transform a retirement home into into a housing complex which could meet the requirement’s of today’s senior citizens, as well as tomorrow’s. Before the project, Habion asked the community “how do you want to grow old in this neighbourhood?” and collected over 1,000 wishes. This acted as guidance and, over-time, the project attracted students, young people, and local businesses.

One of the tenants, Lourens, shares with us that,  

In Huis Assendorp, we really live together. I love drinking coffee with everyone and talking to the students who live here. And of course there is my painting club. I still learn something every day. That’s called self-development, isn’t it? I also organize expositions, you know. You can see my work on every wall of Huis Assendorp.

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The Kaleidoscope Project – Villeneuve-Saint-Georges, France

Public housing company Villeneuve-Saint-Georges OPH acknowledged structural challenges in the area and vulnerable residents in the community. They also recognised the need to evolve their decision-making processes, by involving tenants more fully, in fact, by pursuing a “100% participation” policy. Practically this mean prioritisation of projects, exchange of ideas, conversational walks, participatory work-camp, amongst other actions.

Alice CANTIN, project officer at OPH, shares with us,

In 2018, I experienced a memorable participatory process at “Les Tours” residency. It was the first time we implemented the “full” methodology: from a need expressed by tenants through the “Shared reflections” questionnaires, to an “Eureka” session discussing accommodations and common areas improvements, until reaching shared priorities with an allocated budget and finally the implementation of technical solutions.

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Pflege@Quartier – guaranteed care in the neighbourhood – Berlin, Germany

Housing company GESOBAU AG’s initiative had the aim of helping senior citizens maintain an independent life in their own homes and it achieved this through the provision of personal services, neighbourhood management, technical technical assistance systems and structural engineering measures.

What were GESOBAU especially proud of with this project?

During the project term, 30 flats (with 44 tenants, average age 77) were equipped with analogue daily living aids and digitally-linked products. The tenants are availing themselves of the aids and products with great enthusiasm. The response of the residents of the converted homes probably represents the greatest success of the project. Thanks to the consistent involvement of the tenants and their individual problems, they have identified with the project and have made it their own. The residents stand by the project, stand for the project and by their authenticity they are the ideal project ambassadors.

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The European Responsible Housing Awards is a joint initiative of Housing Europe, the International Union of Tenants (IUT) and Delphis.

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