Experts call for resilient housing
Experts call for resilient housing to address the effects of climate change
Hurricanes, earthquakes, droughts, landslides, extreme temperatures and floods. According to United Nations data, disasters exacerbated by climate change are a reality for the more than 152 million people in Latin America and the Caribbean directly impacted, with over 1,200 such disasters occurring since the year 2000. These primarily affect the 45% of the Latin American population that does not have a decent place to live, according to the Inter-American Development Bank.
Given this reality, during the 5th Housing Forum, organized by Habitat for Humanity and convened by the Urban Housing Practitioners Hub (UHPH), international experts and main actors in the region’s housing sector officially called upon governments and authorities to have their administrations work, through intersectoral partnerships, toward finding solutions that turn homes into resilient places where families can cope with the current climate crisis.
“It is necessary to recognize that the effects of climate change on the housing sector are drastic”— Ernesto Castro, Habitat for Humanity’s Area Vice President for Latin America and the Caribbean
“It is necessary to recognize that the effects of climate change on the housing sector are drastic, and directly affect the homes of the region’s most vulnerable families. We need to create housing solutions that are sustainable, at affordable prices, and allow for more resilient houses where families have safe shelter from the effects of climate change,” says Ernesto Castro, Habitat for Humanity’s Area Vice President for Latin America and the Caribbean.
At the 5th Housing Forum, actors also recognized the urgent need for attending those who live in informal settlements, calculated by the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF) to number more than 120 million Latin Americans.
“This population lives in dwellings generally built of precarious materials. The only way to address this correctly is through intersectoral solutions, with a key component of engaging the community itself in the search for proposals. For this, we must unite national governments with local governments, civil society, NGOs, academia, communities, without forgetting the private sector, in order to provide the right solutions. We must together seek solutions that are innovative, sustainable, resilient and affordable,” comments Castro.
Twelve innovative housing initiatives currently underway in the region were also presented during the 5th Housing Forum. These are the winners of the UHPH Inspiring Practices Contest 2023, selected by a jury of 36 international experts from 145 entrants in 16 different countries. The winners stood out for their models of operation and sustainable production practices, as examples for replication regionwide.
Taking first place in the Local Public Policies category was the Land Bank of the Municipality of Alberti – Ecoplan, Argentina. In the category of Social and Community Initiatives, the winner was a Nicaraguan initiative called Factory for the sustainable production of construction materials for ecological social interest housing, based on recyclable plastic materials. In the ShelterTech Housing Technologies category, the award went to the Housing Platform of Brazil initiative, and in the category of National Public Policies, the winner was the project National Registry of Informal Settlements and Argentina Unit for the Integration of Informal Settlements Program of the country’s Secretariat of Social and Urban Integration.
The last of these was also voted audience favorite by the majority of the more than 600 forum participants. The initiative attends more than 5,600 informal settlements populated by five million people in different degrees of precariousness and overcrowding in Argentina, most without access to basic services or adequate urban infrastructure.
In 2016, the historic National Survey of Informal Settlements was conducted to shed light on this situation and initiate a national social and urban integration policy. Currently more than 1000 such projects are being carried out, encompassing environmental and risk mitigation dimensions associated with climate and environmental aspects in the territories where informal settlements are located.
About the Forum
The 5th Housing Forum was organized by Habitat for Humanity, convened by the Urban Housing Practitioners Hub (UHPH), and co-hosted by the Colombian Ministry of Housing, City and Territory; Bogotá District Secretariat of Habitat; and Bogotá Mayor’s Office.
The event took place in Bogotá, Colombia, with the support of The Hilti Foundation as global presenter and sponsored by regional allies such as the Whirlpool Corporation, Grupo Argos, UN-Habitat, Development Bank of Latin America - CAF, Swiss Contact, World Vision, International Habitat Summit for Latin America and the Caribbean, Miyamoto, Eternit and the Association of Real Estate Companies of Peru. Previously the forum was held virtually from Costa Rica in 2021, in the Dominican Republic in 2018, Mexico in 2015 and Colombia in 2012.
All sessions of the 5th Housing Forum are available at www.uhph.org/en/forum.