Towards Sustainable Communities and Housing: actors, interventions and solutions


Montserrat Pareja Eastaway
Departament of Economics
Facultat d’Economia i Empresa
Universitat de Barcelona
Barcelona, Spain

Jesper Ole Jensen
Aalborg University Copenhagen
Danish Building Research Institute (SBi)
Department of Town, Housing and Property Denmark

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

Central theme
This interdisciplinary Working Group focuses on research relating to the sustainability of various aspects of housing in the urban context.

Activities and output in recent years
In 2017, Nessa Winston organised the launch of the book ‘Sustainable communities and urban housing: A comparative European perspective’ and a research seminar at the Housing Agency of Ireland in Dublin. The book was edited by Montserrat Pareja-Eastaway and Nessa Winston and published by Routledge. Several Working Group members contributed with a Chapter. The book provides a comparative, cross-national perspective on urban housing and sustainability in Europe. It identifies 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.

At the ENHR Tirana Conference in 2017 the Working Group organised a workshop with papers from Albania, Denmark, Spain, Italy, Norway and China, among others. The perspectives were varied and the topics involved a wide range of topics, such as sustainable urban regeneration and sustainable planning.

In February 2018, several Working Group Members participated in an Exploratory Workshop at the London School of Economics, about the social, economic and environmental implications of temporary subletting in Europe.

At the workshop in Athens in 2019 the Working Group had many very interesting papers on a range of topics including: strategies to address energy poverty; social sustainability via citizen science participation and urban development; liveable and sustainable communities in marked-led redevelopments; spatial and social structures of agricultural and mining settlements; modernization of Unit Plans for Apartments; model for future non-profit housing areas; Local government, housing and local land-use conflicts; Residents’ Relocation in a Nuclear Power Plant Stricken Area; stakeholders’ concern about risks in energy retrofit; aging population in Danish single family houses, energy efficiency and other challenges. Papers were presented by researchers from 9 countries including a number from outside Europe: China, Denmark, France, Ireland, Japan, Malaysia Norway Poland and Spain.

Future plans and activities
The Working Group will hold a seminar on Residential Energy in Dublin on 7 May 2020. It has invited the Working Group on Energy to co-host the event, which will be held in conjunction with the Irish Housing Agency. Please do get in touch with one of the co-ordinators if you are interested in attending or speaking at the event.

Policy implications
The Working Group topic nowadays has a main focus on policy as much of the research of its members, and papers presented at the conferences, have important policy implications. For example, in the context of climate change and other environmental, social and economic challenges, its work on various aspects of the sustainable regeneration of housing is important for building resilience in urban neighbourhoods and communities. Several of the Working Group members are engaged in policy advising activities in their own local/national context.