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Cities for Adequate Housing

Housing Europe supports the Municipalist Declaration of Local Governments for the Right to Housing and the Right to the City

Brussels, 7 August 2018 | Published in Urban, Economy, Social

In mid-July, a significant number of major cities from across the globe launched on the initiative of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) and the City of Barcelona the joint declaration 'Cities for Adequate Housing: Municipalist Declaration for the Right to Housing and the Right to the City'. The Declaration aims to highlight the common challenges faced by cities around the world, such as the growth of informal settlements, socio-spatial segregation, financialization and real estate speculation, as well as the urgent need to put in place sound strategies for addressing them. The group of cities brought its call to the UN building upon the #MakeTheShift campaign, launched by the UN Rapporteur on Adequate Housing.

The Declaration is based on a clear commitment to promote renewed housing strategies and to do it in terms of social inclusion and human rights standards. It is particularly linked to concrete challenges pervading the realization of the right to housing, such as the lack of national funding, market deregulation and housing commodification. First signatories include Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Mexico City, Durban, Lisbon, London, Montreal, Montevideo, Plaine Commune, New York, Paris and Seoul.

New York, 16th July 2018

Cities for Adequate Housing

Municipalist Declaration of Local Governments for the Right to Housing and the Right to the City

Building on the milestones of the New Urban Agenda of Habitat III (Quito, 2016) and the momentum of “The Shift”, a global initiative on the right to housing, the signatory cities below take part in this High-Level Political Forum of the United Nations to follow up on Sustainable Development Goal 11 (SDG11: “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable” by 2030), with the support of UCLG (United Cities and Local Governments), the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and Leilani Farha, UN Special Rapporteur on the right to housing.

We, the local governments, are the public officials who are most sensitive to the everyday needs of our citizens. In the contemporary world, lack of national and state funding, market deregulation, growing power of global corporations, and increasing competition for scarce real estate often become a burden on our neighbourhoods, causing serious distortions in their social fabric, and putting the goal of ensuring equitable, inclusive, and just cities at risk. We, the local governments strongly believe that all people should have actual access to “adequate housing”, understood by the United Nations as the one that has the correct “affordability”, “legal security of tenure”, “habitability”, “availability of services, materials, facilities and infrastructure”“accessibility”, “location” and “cultural adequacy”. Nevertheless, real estate speculation, high-cost housing, inadequate regulation, socio-spatial segregation, insecurity of tenure, substandard housing, homelessness, urban sprawl or informal urban enlargements without requisite facilities or infrastructure, are growing phenomena that threaten the equity and sustainability of our cities. Given this situation, local governments cannot stay on the sidelines and need to take a central role. For all these reasons, we call for the following actions.

Visit to read the complete text of the declaration and to join this call for action!

The Declaration is supported by Housing Europe, the UN Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing, Leilani Farha, Habitat International Coalition, the Global Platform for the Right to the City (Right2CityGP) and Observatori DESC.