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"We don't have a refugee crisis, we have a housing crisis"

Peter Cachola Schmal is the keynote speaker at Housing Policies International Conference

Geneva, 12 July 2016 | Published in Social
Picture: Bernd Gabriel
Picture: Bernd Gabriel

The Curator of the German Pavillion at the Venice Biennale of Architecture is the keynote speaker at the International Conference on the Housing Policies of the future organised jointly by Housing Europe, the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the Slovak Presidency of the EU and Cooperative Housing International.

"We don't have a refugee crisis, we have a housing crisis," said Peter Cachola Schmal in an interview with Reuters, setting the tone for the approach behind the German pavilion's at the Venice Biennale of Architecture. The Director of the Deutsches Architekturmuseum in Frankfurt shared his hope that the exhibition would inspire a revival of well-designed social housing across Europe. Rather than temporary shelters, governments should build large-scale quality homes for both refugees and citizens alike, he said.

Germany's entry in the Biennale this year has taken an out-of-the-box angle, focusing on simple shelters used to house asylum seekers. The structures, designed and developed to deal with the influx of migrants into Europe from Africa and the Middle East, provide a direct contrast to Germany's 2014 submission – a scale replica of the former German Chancellor's residence. 

"If nothing is done, the right wing will grow, and (public) opinion against refugees will grow. The first thing to do is build more affordable housing.", continued Mr. Schmal.

Peter Cachola Schmal accepted the invitation of Housing Europe and will deliver the keynote presenation of the international conference "The Housing Policies of our Future: How to make them work" that will be hosted at the UN European Headquarters, Palais Des Nations, in Geneva on September 15th. He will ellaborate on his idea that "We don't have a refugee crisis, we have a housing crisis" triggering a panel discussion on Housing and Society.