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  • Writer's pictureIHS Alumni

Housing challenges in the Global South featured at the International Social Housing Festival

The 20th of June marked the 8th day of the International Social Housing Festival at the Schip Museum in Amsterdam. It would be a day where participants from various institutions and organizations tackled the complicated issues of housing challenges in the Global South.

The event was organized by IHS’s own Alonso Ayala and Ellen Geurts‍ in partnership with Cities Alliance, REALL and the TU Delft Global Studies Housing Centre (GSHC). The aim was to use each participant’s experience and knowledge to spark discussion; encouraging interaction and debate. The event was divided into two parts: the first featured a series of small group discussions named the ‘coffee table exercise’. The event didn’t intend to find solutions for the challenges - which are far too large to cover in one workshop - but to offer insights into approaches to these problems. Together, the groups came up with four statements:

  • ‘Social housing is a function of (local) government and they are best placed to provide social housing’ – IHS

  • ‘Affordable (social) housing demands standardisation and repetition of design features’ – TU Delft

  • ‘Location, location, location is what should concern affordable housing’ – Cities Alliance’

  • ‘Many of the global poor can live in affordable houses without a need for subsidy’ – Reall

The second part of the event offered two tracks:

‘Design’, in which participants played Southopolis, an interactive game developed by the TU Delft GSHC that offered a practical look at the challenges of designing affordable housing in the context of the global South. Through roleplaying, participants negotiated and asked themselves what the key demands of the various stakeholders were – thus unlocking new perspectives.

The second track, ‘Policies’ featured presentations from Omar Siddique of Cities Alliance, Marie-Odile Zanders from Reall and Ellen Geurts from IHS. Ellen talked about stories and first-hand experiences of projects that she worked on in South Africa. She presented some of the main principles to housing which include the ‘Housing Ladder’ and the 4A’s (availability, accessibility, affordability and acceptable). Marie-Odile explained the mechanisms of the social enterprise model that Reall promotes among his partners. While Omar presented the country programme in Liberia by the Cities Alliance network.

This was one of the few events of the International Social Housing Festival that focused on affordable housing in the global South. More information about the festival and this session can be found here. And you can read more about the outcomes of the coffee table exercise here.


About the author:

Fiona Rappin is a Marketing and Communication Intern at IHS. She is currently following a master in Political and Institutional Communication at Sciences Po Grenoble, France. She works with the Alumni Relations office and hopes to contribute to the work of IHS in capacity building as well as in making cities more sustainable and inclusive.


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