Tuesday, June 28, 2022
Globally, the world has been grappling with a housing quality deficit for decades, with 1.6 billion people living in sub-standard housing of which 1 billion are living in informal settlements and slums. Rapid urbanization, increasing housing construction and land costs, under-resourced and under-capacitated local governments and limited infrastructure capacity of cities to name a few have further amplified the deficit. The United Nations projects that urban population growth will be over 2 billion people by 2050 and that close to 90% of this increase will be in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. This means that billions more people are going to be in need of adequate housing. Inequities are rising around the world due to the demand for adequate housing exceeding the supply and which is exacerbated by global stressors including climate change, conflict, displacement, and the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, societies are seeing increased inequity, informality and political, social, and economic fragmentation. In many cases, the pandemic has left those already vulnerable worse off and further exposed to multi-dimensional poverty, yet it also elevated the central importance that housing plays in creating stable and resilient societies. To build a more equitable urban future, it is essential that governments at all levels recognize the centrality of housing, and its components, in achieving sustainable and resilient cities. Addressing, the barriers to adequate housing encountered by people living in informal settlements and other forms of precarious housing allows for opportunity and agency in improving one’s housing, creating inclusive neighborhoods, questioning long-held power dynamics, and contributing to the security, ecology and sustainability of the wider city. Recognizing the need for diverse solutions, Habitat for Humanity International encourages housing actors at all levels to ensure housing is vulnerable population-focused, climate resilient, and keeps both social and economic values at its core. This networking event will encourage participants to consider the centrality that housing plays in determining a more equitable urban future. Through a guided networking session, in person and online, participants will be encouraged to collaborate with fellow participants on key questions proposed by the organizers, followed by a panel discussion of experts. This networking event will bring together voices from around the world to discuss the central role that housing plays in driving social and economic outcomes, enhancing resilience to disasters, creating sustainable cities and supporting the needs of the world’s most vulnerable. With representatives from academia, grass roots organizations, multilateral organizations and government, the case will be made that the world’s cities will be made more equitable if housing is more accessible by all.
The objectives of this session are: • To bring diverse global actors to the table to identify ways to elevate the issue of housing as an essential platform for creating an equitable urban future for all. • To inform policy makers and urban stakeholders of the importance of access to adequate housing for achieving broader social, economic, and environmental outcomes, increasing access to urban basic services, and addressing systemic barriers and exclusions faced by the most vulnerable in urban areas. • To highlight the importance of understanding the additional burdens and challenges faced by vulnerable groups such as women and children in accessing adequate housing and how the quality of housing impacts their well-being, heath and access to education and livelihoods. • To engage participants to share ideas and make meaningful connections with relevant contacts in the housing, urban development, and governance fields across the housing sector. • To lay the groundwork for the launch of Habitat for Humanity International’s 5-year global advocacy campaign, focused on the areas of discussion during this panel, and with the intent to develop partnership for enrolment in the campaign.