Every month we introduce you to one of the people leading the work of our member organisations. In this edition, we head to Norway to introduce you to the CEO of our associate member organisation NBBL, Thor Eek.
- I would describe NBBL in 10 words as the umbrella organisation for the 47 cooperative housing associations in Norway.
- Our key objective is to make sure that our members, the cooperative housing associations, have the best possible framework to execute their tasks. This includes providing new dwellings for its members, and the management of almost 7.000 housing cooperatives and more than 2.000 condominiums.
- Apart from housing provision, our mission is to support the cooperative housing associations in delivering high quality- and affordable services to its members. We aim at creating good housing- and living environment for all members. NBBL offers also courses to educate employees in the cooperative housing associations.
- We are members of Housing Europe because this gives us useful information about housing policy and housing conditions in other European countries. Housing Europe is expanding our horizon in our national affairs.
- Housing is considered to be in Norway a fundamental part of the welfare state. Most people own their own dwelling. Housing transactions are part of the free market, and the prices are constantly fluctuating due to supply and demand. In our housing cooperative movement we work for everyone’s right to own their own dwelling. The rental sector in Norway is very small compared to many other European countries.
- Our key partners in the country are: at the local level it is the cooperative housing associations. They collaborate with the housing “department” in the municipalities, and private entrepreneurs and housing planners. At the national level, NBBL is striving to have a good relation with any ruling government, political parties in Parliament, and other housing authorities; such as The State Housing Bank. Collaboration with other lobby-organisations, NGOs in the Housing sector and R&D environments, is also part of the game.
- Our main housing policy priority at the moment is to fight for a housing policy that results in a sufficient number of new dwellings at affordable prices. We also have a high focus on the challenges according maintenance and upgrading of the existing housing stock to meet the demands of tomorrow, especially concerning energy consumption and the massive increase in the numbers of elderly people.
- The major challenge for the country today is to build a sufficient number of new homes to match the population growth. With a better balance between supply and demand the rising housing prices can stop, and make it easier for young people to buy a dwelling by their own. As most other countries, Norway is also experiencing a strong urbanisation trend, witch challenges urban planning and development. It is important to see housing, transportation, cityplanning and environmental questions in a holistic perspective.
- I start my working day with a cup of coffee and checking my e-mail.
- After leaving the office I cycle home - which I do all year round, even if it's minus 15 degrees Celsius. I also like going skiing and being with family and friends.
- Currently I am reading a biography of Norwegian Prime Ministers since 1814 and up until today - while listening to classical music.
- I move around, if not on the bike, then with my old Swedish SAAB, perfect for winter driving.
- I prefer having on my table water, tea, coffee, wine, beer or a whiskey, but not at the same time!