IMHAB housing policies against speculation are named a finalist project of the European Responsible Housing Awards
The housing policies promoted by the Municipal Housing Institute of Barcelona (IMHAB) in order to fight against speculation in the territory have been named as a finalist project in the European Responsible Housing Awards, promoted by the European Union. The municipal housing action was the finalist in the category “Fair financing for housing sustainability” of the European awards.
The European Responsible Housing Awards aim to recognise exemplary and innovative ideas related to the housing sector as well as best practices that are already being carried out in the territory, as in the case of the policies promoted by the IMHAB.
The awards were launched in 2014 as an EU-funded initiative that focused on corporate social responsibility within the social and affordable housing sector. Over time, they have become a unique opportunity for providers of public, social and cooperative housing to participate in a European level competition that showcases success stories, innovations and good practices. The awards are organised into five different categories.
The European Responsible Housing Awards understand housing as a fundamental element in shaping a changing future, which will be marked by major challenges such as demographic trends, increasing inequality and populism, and climate change. Therefore, the competition aims to promote innovation in this field.
In the 2019 edition, the awards received a record number of projects, with a total of 86 coming from 16 countries. The winning project will be announced on 6 June.
Policies to defend the right to housing
Among the finalists of this year’s edition, Anti-speculation housing policies based on location stands out, which the IMHAB is carrying out within the framework of the Right to Housing Plan 2016-2025. The measures promoted include the selective acquisition of private homes and the mobilisation of affordable housing through bilateral agreements with private owners.
The Right to Housing Plan defines the municipal proposals and commitments in housing policy for the period 2016-2025 and includes the measures approved by the City Council in order to defend this right to the city. The Plan addresses the defence of the right to housing from a perspective of the general good and provides for the deployment of a series of measures to bring it into effect.
The measures applied within the framework of the Right to Housing Plan have been organised into four lines of action: prevention and attention to the housing emergency and residential exclusion with measures to help people who cannot afford their homes; guaranteeing the correct use of available housing, seeking solutions so that the properties have a social use (obtaining the cession of those that are vacant, exercising the rights of pre-emption and retraction, etc.); the expansion of affordable housing and promoting the construction of new public housing developments; and the effort to improve and renovate housing with measures that protect tenants and confront gentrification processes.
Cooperative housing and flats for the elderly, among the finalists
Among the Barcelona housing projects that were finalists in the European Responsible Housing Awards is also that of La Borda and the construction of flats for the elderly by Ravetllat Architecture.
La Borda is a group of 28 non-profit homes that the cooperative La Borda SCCL has developed over six years, having the collaboration of its users from day one and throughout the process.
The flats were built on a municipal plot of land ceded by Barcelona City Council. The development has helped to increase the city’s affordable housing with a pioneering model for cooperative housing. This was the first cohousing experience launched in the city, along with the development of Carrer Princesa.
The La Borda homes stand out, on the one hand, because the collective housing programme has been redefined, with more community spaces than a conventional building. On the other hand, it stands out for its sustainability and environmental quality, with a low environmental impact in the construction that was achieved through the use of materials such as structural wood and the incorporation of passive strategies.
As for the flats for the elderly developed by Ravetllat Architecture, there are 44 rental flats in Sant Gervasi. The homes have services adapted to the mobility and accessibility needs of the elderly and include energy control measures to facilitate use and maintenance with minimal ecological impact.