The Place of Inhabitants
Exchange Series 2011Brussels, 1 May 2011 | Published in Research
Residents' Participation in Creating Sustainable Housing & Neighborhoods
This report presents some preliminary findings from a study which the Observatory is carrying out thanks to the initiative of, and in cooperation with, the French federation Union Sociale pour l’Habitat.
The aim of this practice-oriented study, which will be fina- lised in the autumn 2011, is to learn about how social housing providers are involving their tenants and residents in providing services, what is the role of residents and how to put them at the centre of our work.
Our long-term vision is that the delivery of housing policies processes should be transformed, so that the interest of people is at the centre of the decision making, and that people who will benefit from it are fully participating in their development.Read More
In this publication we present different approaches to residents’ involvement and parti- cipation in the housing sector in 5 EU countries, concentrating first on the regulatory framework which defines the ‘rules of the game’ in this field.
Most importantly, in the second part we present concrete examples which illustrate the commitment by different actors in the housing field (social housing providers as well as public authorities) towards increasing residents’ participation, in the belief that this is the way forward if we want to achieve better services, and socially, economically and environmentally sustainable neighbourhoods.
Finally, in the third part we consider some of the models which imply a higher degree of resident involvement through various forms of co-ownership and self-help, such as housing cooperatives, co-housing, community land trusts and similar initiatives.
Users’ involvement in the delivery of services: a key element of quality services and good governance
The Social Protection Committee (SPC) adopted in October 2010 a Voluntary European Quality Framework for Social Services*. This is a set of guidelines that aims to develop a common understanding of the quality of social services within the EU. It serves as a reference for public authorities to improve the quality of these services.
The Framework includes quality principles for the relationships between service provi- ders and users, such as respect for users’ rights, and participation and empowerment. In particular, service providers should ‘encourage the active involvement of the users, and, when appropriate, of their families or trusted persons and of their informal carers in the decisions regarding the planning, delivery and evaluation of services. The service provision should empower users to define their personal needs and should aim to strengthen or maintain their capacities while retaining as much control as possible over their own lives.’
It also refers to quality principles for the relationships between service providers, public authorities, social partners and other stakeholders, encouraging partnership and cooperation of all stakeholders as well as openness and transparency as the basis for good governance.