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Untitled Document
Housing and Urban Sustainability

Created in 2001


Montserrat Pareja Eastaway
Departament de Teoria Econòmica
Facultat d'Economia i Empresa
Universitat de Barcelona
Barcelona, Spain

Eli Støa
NTNU Trondheim
Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Department of Architectural Design and Management
Trondheim, Norway

Nessa Winston
University College Dublin
School of Applied Social Science
Dublin, Ireland


Central theme
The working group deals with research on sustainability applied to different fields and from different perspectives.

Future plans / activities
Currently, several members of the working group are engaged in the production of an edited volume to be published next year by Routledge.  The book is entitled: Sustainable communities and urban housing:  A comparative European perspective and the editors are Montserrat Pareja-Eastaway and Nessa Winston. Contributions provide a comparative cross-national perspective on urban housing and sustainability in Europe.  A central aim is to identify the main barriers to and drivers of a) more sustainable urban development and b) the sustainable regeneration of urban communities. A key focus of the book is on highlighting policy implications and the potential for policy transfer in these important areas. Ireland, Sweden, Norway, Germany, Spain, Rumania, Hungary, UK, Switzerland and The Netherlands are the selected countries in the book. 

Past activities
The working group Housing and Urban Sustainability organized a workshop at the ENHR 2015 in Lisbon under the title ‘: Holistic approaches to Urban Renewal’.  It was coordinated by Montserrat Pareja-Eastaway, Eli Støa and Nessa Winston. 

After the GEFC (Great Economic and Financial Crisis), the built environment has become one of the main targets for European urban and housing policies. It is in the cities and neighbourhoods that people enjoy a certain quality of life and create and experience their own community. There is an invisible but clear link between environmental conditions, community development and personal achievement. Sustainable policies and interventions oriented to improve the built environment should integrate the multidimensional aspects of living conditions in a certain location.

In 2015 our working group aimed to focus on papers dealing with holistic, sustainable approaches to urban renewal. We welcomed papers which examine policies and interventions in the built environment addressed to improve housing and urban conditions additionally considering social and/or economic issues in existing communities, issues relating to cultural heritage,  architecture or urban quality.

However, papers dealing with urban sustainability related to housing approaching any other aspect as well as more theoretical discourses on the topic were included.

We received 15 papers, from several countries including Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Ireland, Turkey, Spain and Austria. They were distributed in 4 sessions.

Topics included:

  • Smart and Healthy cities; effects of urban regeneration
  • Social/structural-spatial and property market;
  • Dealing with the modernist ;
  • ICT and urban housing
  • Community Entrepreneurialism and 'Sustainable’ Communities;
  • Socio-economic & environmental performance in sustainable housing; 
  • Re-mix and Urban Form;
  • Renewing a New City District; 
  • Changing place identity in urban transformation projects;
  • Co-housing communities and co-operative ownership;
  • Neighbourhood laws and sustainability;
  • Environmental quality requirements at neighbourhood scale;
  • Historic city centres;
  • Urban safety and crime prevention.

During the workshop, a special session was devoted to the presentation of the first drafts of some of the Chapters of the book above mentioned. It proved to be an interesting occasion to exchange views and comments on the topic.

Among the presentations, there were senior researchers and new ones; which was encouraging, as the survival of the working group seems guaranteed.   

Policy implications
The working group as such does not deal directly with policy implications. However, several members are engaged in policy advising activities in their own local/national context.