Housing in Cities: First Multi-Stakeholder Conversation at the Governance Platform

On the 3rd of June, representatives from politics, administration, business and organized civil society jointly explored problems and options for urban housing provision.

The event was organized by the HUMBOLDT-VIADRINA Governance Platform and moderated by Professor Gesine Schwan. 15 actors discussed “the role of private housing companies for socially acceptable housing in cities” in the Allianz Forum in Berlin.

Given the current public debate on housing policy, a common understanding of the problem was discussed. Housing in metropolitan areas presents urban society, politics and private housing companies with challenging questions about rent, new construction, district development and consolidation. Housing demand often exceeds supply, especially as a result of the continuing increase in population. Rising housing costs, conflicting interests in the real estate sector and antagonism between the actors involved characterise the current tense debate. Residents´ protest against the increasing privatization of the housing market and gentrification processes.

In order to pacify urban conflicts in the interest of a culture of participation on city level, there is a need for a mutual dialogue between the various actors and an exchange about the responsibility of private housing companies. This first conversation in a trusted setting offered the opportunity to discuss how to promote a capacity for communication and compromise among the actors involved, and what options for action could be implemented to bring the conflicting positions together. As the Governance Platform, we are convinced that societal decisions can only be strengthened and legitimized when deliberation between politics and administration, business, organized civil society and science improves.

Given the tense current situation, it was envisaged to continue the conversation to identify concrete solutions in the near future.

Picture: © Nasta Faley 2019