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Social Housing: Looking back, moving forward

Embracing change to deliver the future

Amsterdam, 15 June 2017Save the date
Our Speakers' Line up
Our Speakers' Line up

Τhis summer Housing Europe, the European Federation of Public, Cooperative and Social Housing and Aedes- the Federation of Dutch Social Housing Associations invite you to take part in a unique celebration of decent, affordable housing for all. On the occasion of the International Social Housing Festival taking place in June 2017 in Amsterdam, Housing Europe will host its annual policy conference jointly with its member organisation, Aedes. This event brings together representatives of housing associations across Europe, policy makers and the civil society in an exchange that generates evidence-based policy suggestions.


When: Thursday, 15 June 2017

Where: WesterUnie, Klönneplein, Amsterdam, Netherlands

More practical information

You may see here how our ‘Housing Policies’ Conference unfolded at the UN Headquarters in Geneva last year

This year, under the title ‘Social Housing: Looking back, moving forward; embracing change to deliver the future’ we will identify the elements to keep in mind from the long tradition of our sector when we address the current and future challenges, focusing in particular on demographics and on the most appropriate response to the retreat of the State from the housing sector.

For the International Social Housing Festival, we have joined forces with a diverse alliance of partners including the historical Amsterdam School Museum Het Schip, Aedes-The Federation of Dutch Social Housing Associations, the Amsterdam Federation of Housing Corporations and the Municipality of Amsterdam to bring the first International Social Housing Festival (ISHF) to life.


9.00 Registration & Welcome coffee

9:30 WARM UP

  • Introduction by Eddy Adams, Moderator
  • Welcome by President of Housing Europe, Marc Calon
  • Warm-up quiz: A step back, to jump forward - Questions and facts about the history of social housing in Europe.


10:00 INSPIRE: Keynote presentation

Affordable housing is scarce – that much has become evident in the last few years. As real estate prices in big cities continue to skyrocket, conventional ideas of housing development prove unable to meet demands. The reaction to these challenges has been a silent revolution in contemporary architecture – towards collective building and living.

Berlin-based Publisher and Curator on issues surrounding Architecture and Urbanism, Ilka Ruby will deliver her keynote presentation addressing this global phenomenon by presenting a broad array of collective building and living projects from Europe, Asia, and the United States. An overview of historical precedents for the current wave of collectives demonstrates that the idea of collectivity has been a recurring theme in the history of architecture, from the reformist ideas of the nineteenth century to the hippies and squatters of the twentieth who touted the slogan Make love, not lofts.

  • Ilka Ruby, Publisher & Curator, Ruby Press

Together! The New Architecture of the Collective

Meet our keynote speaker


10.30 – 11.00: coffee break


11.00 DISCUSS: preparing for changes

Moderated by Eddy Adams

Our world is changing faster than the ways we provide homes. Housing providers will need to operate in a totally different ecosystem in the future? What are the major trends that will be defining their work? Mobility, demographics, increasing urbanisation and the challenge of segregation are just a few of them. Experienced representatives of a political institution that sets the international standards in a wide range of areas, a leading European university and of a civil society organisation with a long tradition help us shape the picture of the future, inviting you to add your touch to the canvas…

  • Dr. Rudiger Ahrend, Head of Urban Policy Division at the OECD
    'Housing in the City: The 21st Century Challenges'
  • Carina Dantas, Innovation Director in Cáritas Coimbra and Vice-President of EU Covenant on Demographic Change
    ‘Social housing and demography – the challenges of an ageing society’
  • Dr. Wouter van Gent, Assistant Professor, Department of Geography, Planning and International Development Studies, University of Amsterdam
    ‘Demographics, inequality, diversity and the role of social housing’
  • Discussion with the audience


12.30 – 14.00 Lunch

Special Session during Lunch Break | More than housing  
Videos of the 4 European Responsible Housing Awards 2016 winning projects


14.00 DISCUSS: delivering the future

Moderated by Eddy Adams

Housing providers are way beyond just passive recipients of the changes that shape the context in which they operate. How do public, cooperative and social housing providers futureproof their operating strategies? Which are the areas in which they invest the most in technological and social innovation? Cooperatives in Italy aiming to make the most of their unique model, a Northern Irish association creating dementia friendly communities and the biggest social housing provider in the French capital that generates affordable housing solutions. With public support retreating how can social and affordable housing providers help and be helped? Get a flavour of actual best practices on the ground and share your ideas and concerns with housing association representatives across the continent. 

  • Dr. John McPeake, Interim CEO, Helm Housing N.Ireland & Housing Europe Board Member
    'From a dementia scheme to a dementia friendly community: how a Belfast-based housing association is making a difference'
  • Rossana Zaccaria, President of Legacoop Abitanti, the Italian Association of Inhabitants’ Cooperatives
    'Ospitalia solidale: helping youth access to housing'
    * Presentation will be delivered by 
    Maria Chiara Cela - Dar Casa Cooperative 
  • Bertrand Bret, Advisor to the Chairman & Head of International Affairs, Paris Habitat
    'Αn innovative policy of dialogue with tenants for a better living together' 
  • Discussion with the audience


15.00 – 15.30 coffee break


15.30 ACT: The United Cities of Housing

Moderated by Eddy Adams

Big or small, in the centre or in the periphery cities are the places where the vast majority of the global population will be living in the future. At the moment, numerous urban centres across the globe turn into “arrival cities” for those migrating, fleeing war zones or just moving away from rural areas. With their field of responsibility being the scenery for the transformation of our society, local authorities are the first ones that make the decisions defining their future. Housing is a core element.

Representatives from major European cities sit around the same table with policy makers from Brussels and the President of Housing Europe in an open discussion with a double objective; on the one hand to present key lessons learnt over the last few years in diverse contexts and on the other hand to identify the challenges that need to be addressed in the near future.

Round table with cities:

  • Laia Ortiz
    Deputy Mayor of Social Rights in Barcelona City Council
  • Laurens Ivens
    City of Amsterdam Alderperson responsible for Building & Housing Planning
  • Dr. Elisabeth Merk
    City of Munich Planning Director
  • Housing Europe President, Marc Calon


16.30 COMPASS: Lessons learnt- the way forward

Cédric Van Styvendael, General Director of Eastern Habitat Métropole & Housing Europe Board Member


Closing cocktail on the premises