A global celebration of the long tradition of decent, affordable housing for all aiming to generate convincing responses to current and future challenges. A series of events, exhibitions, meetings, field visits, community activities and much more from June 13th to June 21st 2017 in Amsterdam will make up the first International Social Housing Festival.
A diverse alliance of partners including Aedes-The Federation of Dutch Social Housing Organizations, the Amsterdam Federation of Housing Corporations, Housing Europe-the European Federation of Public, Cooperative and Social Housing, the Municipality of Amsterdam, and the historical Amsterdam School Museum Het Schip, to invite all sorts of housing professionals, policy makers, tenants, academia and the wider public to a journey through the history of the social housing sector with a view to preparing it for a future of surprises and challenges. Aedes and Housing Europe are both members of the EU Urban Housing Partnership.
The Netherlands is a country with a world-leading (in both the pioneering and exemplary contexts) tradition in social housing, and Amsterdam, as the capital and largest city, has always been at the centre of this. The starting point and symbolic core of the festival will be the Museum Het Schip, which is one of the architectural icons of the ‘Amsterdam School’ movement which celebrated 100 years in 2016.
Part of international expressionist architecture, it is noted for its tasteful brickwork and intricate masonry details, both inside and out, reflecting the revolutionary vision of a universally liveable and socially inclusive Amsterdam. The movement was also ground-breaking in that it provided workers and low income groups with housing that did not just provide them with all their necessities but was also aesthetically pleasing- a home to truly be proud of. The Amsterdam School architectural movement is the point of entry for a journey that will lead organisers and participants well beyond the Dutch and the European borders.
In 1901, the Dutch parliament passed the Housing Act. This allowed a variety of collectives to organize housing projects. Across the Netherlands many social housing corporations were established, tasked with delivering an enormous amount of quality yet affordable dwellings. While the system and organizations have evolved since then, the driving force remains the same: providing people with low incomes with good and affordable housing in liveable communities. The history of Dutch social housing is not only of progress from the top down though, with collaboration between tenants and municipalities a driving force behind many projects.
Recently, housing policy in most European countries has been increasingly trusted to market forces. There are questions to be answered on how long-sighted this is, given the resurgent challenges of rapid urbanization, changing lifestyles, globalization, migration and climate change, re-invigorating the case for universally accessible housing. Proactive and inventive policies are needed to tackle these challenges head-on and provide adequate and affordable housing for all. This is where the ISHF comes in.