Learning from the challenges and policy responses of mature and emerging housing systems

Every single country in the world today is solving a housing riddle. While social, economic and environmental urban challenges may vary from one state to the other, the big questions are the same at every corner.

At first sight, well-functioning and mature housing systems with solid welfare services can be easier to grasp or build upon. We only need to look twice to realise that even regions and cities with a good amount of social and affordable housing must reinvent themselves. Many are looking for the best coping mechanisms to offer living within ethical climate boundaries, renovate while increasing the housing stock; cater for an ageing population while keeping up to speed with evolving technology to provide access to housing for the youth; combat discrimination and segregation; challenge the massive spread of vacation homes in attractive city areas… The list is long.

In parallel, emerging or even nascent housing systems are preparing to make an enormous jump facing both structural and emerging housing challenges on their way. Learning from the past mistakes or successes of others with an innovative attitude can bring them far ahead, and provide a new source of inspiration to more mature housing systems.

External factors such as the global health pandemic, devastating war invasions, and financial crises, have also been reshaping housing systems. In a context of growing instability and uncertainty, reshaping housing systems to be more equality-driven, environmentally sustainable and resilient has become a moral imperative.

In this sense, the public sector is called to play an entrepreneurial role in supporting the development and preservation of affordable housing, in close collaboration with non- and limited-profit housing providers.