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Social Housing Observatory

History Series #5

Brussels, 8 November 2013 | Social

At a critical time for the sector in the EU

Europe has been coming out of several shaping changes in the beginning of the ’90s. The fall of the Soviet Union, the fall of the Berlin and the Reunification of Germany, the war in the former Yugoslavia had changed the scenery all over the continent. On top of that the Maastricht Treaty had given birth to the European Union, had created the European Common Market and had paved the way towards a single currency, Euro.

CECODHAS kept up with all these changes, taking steps forward by trying to get a better overview of the sector at EU level. Following its 1993 general assembly in Athens, CECODHAS set up the Social Housing Observatory Unit with four main missions:

  1. Monitor continuously trends in national housing policies in the 15- at the time- EU Member States alongside with Norway and Switzerland.
  2. Identify and compare innovative European practices in social housing
  3. Analyze and compare the effects of European integration on the social housing sector
  4. Keep a statistical record of European Social Housing

First director of the Observatory was named Laurent Ghekiére who had developed regular updates on key trends and had started a long series of comparative studies helping collective understanding and getting CECODHAS in position to shape a common policy line.

Fernando Ubeda Rives, president of CECODHAS during the time period 1996-1997, was highlighting back in 1996 how crucial the moments were for the social housing sector: “The improvement of living conditions, especially in peripheral urban areas and declining city centres, remains a central objective and CECODHAS must continue to seek the support of the EU and national governments for social and physical regeneration programmes.”

More working groups to cover a broader agenda

By 1997 eight CECODHAS working groups had been established. Among them one started covering sustainable homes, a subject that was moving rapidly up in the housing agenda.

Further pan-european iniatives on issues related to housing in a broader context were about to follow…

To be continued on Friday, November 15…


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