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More than 7,500 professionals from 120 countries participate in global debate to address housing affordability issues

  • During the UIA 2022 International Forum in Madrid, 9 round tables were held with the participation of more than 80 experts from 30 countries, which brought together more than 4,000 people, including attendees and those who watched the event via streaming
  • More than 200 experts participated in the 40 side events organized since March on five continents and attended by more than 3,500 people
  • The Forum concluded with a call to action to break down barriers to accessing decent, adequate and affordable housing
  • The affordablehousingactivation.org platform will give continuity to ahamadrid.com as an activation space open to contributions, which will include the repository with all the events held within the framework of the forum and the artificial intelligence tools and the dynamic atlases developed specifically for this purpose
  • The UIA 2022 International Forum was convened by the International Union of Architects and organized by CSCAE, together with the Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda, the Madrid City Council and the COAM, with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Community of Madrid and UN-Habitat

May 25, 2022. – The UIA 2022 International Affordable Housing Activation Forum: Removing Barriers, held last week in Madrid, turned the Spanish capital into the epicenter of the global debate on access to decent, adequate and affordable housing. The event, held between May 18 and 20 at the Gran Teatro Príncipe Pío, was attended by more than 80 leading international experts and attracted more than 4,000 people, including attendees and those who watched the event via streaming. In addition to these figures, 40 parallel events have been held since March on the five continents, attended by more than 3,500 people, so that, as a whole, the global movement promoted by the UIA 2022 International Forum has brought together more than 7,500 professionals from 120 countries to address the main barriers that complicate or prevent access to housing. 

In this sense, the Forum concluded with a call to action to break down the barriers that impede access to housing in which architecture professionals, urban planners, sociologists, urban anthropologists, economists and academics, representatives of governments, civil society organizations, intergovernmental institutions, as well as experts in housing issues called for the assumption of shared responsibilities to improve the effective right of access to decent, adequate and affordable housing throughout the world by 2050. 

Marta Vall-llossera, president of CSCAE, the organizing entity, points out: “The forum has allowed us to see that access to housing is complex and, through the debates and success stories, we have identified the keys we need to focus on in order to resolve it”. In this sense, the president of the CSCAE values that the collective and interdisciplinary work model promoted by the forum, with events held in the five continents between March and May and experts from different areas of knowledge, who have addressed the problem in a global way, “enables us to offer society more effective solutions”. “Together we are stronger,” stresses Vall-llossera, who emphasizes: “The forum does not end here because, on the web, all the contents and tools developed can be consulted”. 

Angela Baldellou, executive director of the 2022 International Forum, said: “The Forum has helped us understand that the need for housing is not the same in Bangladesh as in the center of Europe; there are different degrees of need with different solutions. The forum has made clear the existing challenges to address the problem, but it has also served to mobilize the actors who must drive change: starting with architects.”  

A call for tangible medium- and long-term solutions 

The Call to Action for Adequate and Affordable Housing draws together the contributions of the UIA International Forum 2022 Affordable Housing Activation: Removing Barriers and proposes a roadmap from which to collaborate and move forward. The activation framework is based on the principles and pillars of the development and housing rights agendas, especially the 2030 Agenda and the New Urban Agenda.  

In this proposal for action, international experts have set several objectives and commitments. As a result of the debate held at the UIA 2022 Affordable Housing Activation: Removing Barriers International Forum, the six barriers discussed were taken as a starting point for structuring the complexity of the problem of access to housing, highlighting the need to promote initiatives capable of diagnosing the situation and facilitating decision-making. 

During the Forum, the importance of establishing a common action plan to identify priority areas and implement concrete actions was highlighted. To this end, they insist on the need to establish alliances that consolidate a global movement and support governments in their actions to realize the right to housing in an inclusive, sustainable and resilient manner. In this sense, they propose to use global and regional meetings, mobilize technical and financial support and explore new forms of governance for a more inclusive housing production. 

Among the main objectives is the promotion of quality in the production and design processes of affordable housing to ensure the commitment of professionals and all agents in the building value chain. With respect to this issue, they also point out the need to reinforce the interdisciplinary work of multiple actors to achieve the goal of sustainability in housing, urban regeneration and the dignification of degraded environments. It is also intended to promote synergies between art and culture and science and innovation to pursue sustainable and innovative solutions, as well as accessible and affordable ones. 

An event characterized by the participation of renowned experts and authorities. 

The Forum was marked by the great international reputation of the speakers, in which more than 80 internationally renowned experts such as Juan Verde, Richard Sennett, Odile Deck, Ben van Berkel, Sara Topelson, Joan Clos, Paul Karakusevic, Lluis de Mello or Sergio Magalhaes, debated to analyze and synthesize concrete proposals around the 6 barriers identified to determine the current state of housing. 

The Minister of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda, Raquel Sánchez; the Mayor of Madrid, José Luis Martínez-Almeida; the Regional Minister of Environment, Territorial Planning and Sustainability of the Community of Madrid, Paloma Martín; the head of the Urban Planning Branch of UN-Habitat, Shipra Narang Suri; the president of the International Union of Architects (UIA), José Luis Cortés, and the president of the CSCAE, Marta Vall-llossera, headed the institutional representation at the Forum. 

A space for the legacy of the AHA Forum 

The Madrid Forum intends to consolidate its legacy by establishing a permanent platform through which experts and agents of the sector will be able to connect experiences, policies, data and diverse views through a global, transversal, interdisciplinary, multiple, flexible and participatory site. Under the name affordablehousingactivation.org, an activation space open to contributions and commitments that add efforts to improve access to housing will be made available to the interested public. 

Thus, the affordablehousingactivation.org platform will continue www.ahamadrid.com as an activation space open to reflection and contributions from multidisciplinary perspectives, gathering the repository with all the events held in the framework of the forum and the artificial intelligence tools, which dynamically link contents and concepts of the platform, as well as the dynamic atlases developed specifically for this purpose. These atlases collect, for the first time, thousands of indicators from hundreds of databases to better understand the barriers to affordable housing. 

A dynamic movement with broad institutional backing 

The UIA Affordable Housing Activation: Removing Barriers Forum was organized by the UIA, the CSCAE, the Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda, the Madrid City Council and the COAM, with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Community of Madrid and UN-Habitat. The support of the professional structure in Madrid has been guaranteed through the COAM and the building sector by the Observatory 2030 of the CSCAE, which brings together all the agents involved in Spain in the design of cities. 

In addition, the Forum has counted on the collaboration of partners for the coordination and elaboration of alliance proposals such as Urban Land Institute, UNECE, World Bank, UN-Habitat, the International Union of Architects with its 115 member sections, the Rotman School of Management, the School of Cities, Housing Europe, MIT, Vienna City Council, Mies Foundation, the ICO Foundation, WIRES, Madrid Nuevo Norte, the Valdecarros Project, COMPAC, ROCA and Asemas, among other actors. 

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