Latest News!!

Nordic politicians look to EU for border solutions

By

Nordiske-flag“Nordic politicians want to reinstate passport-free travel between their countries, but rather than proposing regional solutions, most argue that nothing can be done until the EU solves the migrant crisis.”

Read the full article at the EU Observer.


EU asylum applications from unaccompanied children in 2015 increase 303% from 2014

The news come from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

hqdefaultOver the past six months, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism has been aggregating unpublished statistics from the 17 European governments (15 member states + Norway and Switzerland) in an attempt to build a comprehensive picture detailing the scale of migration among unaccompanied minors during last year’s refugee crisis.

You can find all the date in the Bureau’s Infographic
publication.


Overcrowding in refugee housing now an issue

downloadAn Associated Press survey has found that at least three of Germany’s 16 states have lowered their requirements for refugee shelters, including for the minimum amount of space given to each refugee. Six states had no minimum requirements or said it was up to inspectors to approve conditions on a case-by-case basis.

Read more here.


UK to take in up to 3,000 vulnerable child refugees

By Lizzie Dearden.

download (1)The UK is to take in up to 3,000 more child refugees after months of calls to help the youngest and most vulnerable migrants risking their lives to reach safety.The Government hailed the programme, which will come on top of a previous pledge to welcome 20,000 Syrians, as one of the world’s largest resettlement programme for children.

Read the full article from The Independent here.


Stay tuned for our next posts! We will refresh the Latest News every 15 days. Contact us if you want specific content.

andreia fidalgoAndreia Fidalgo

Member of the IFHP office in Copenhagen
Project Assistant of the Housing Refugees Project

Disclaimer: The views expressed on this site are those of the authors of the blogposts and do not reflect those of the International Federation of Housing and Planning.

The IFHP Housing Academy

IFHP seeks cities to become partners of the the Housing Academy

Public space 6 (by Spectral-Design)

Cities are in transition due to many drivers: changing demographics, changing housing patterns, platform economy to mention some. Cities are being challenged and with these challenges comes great potential to innovate, to accelerate developments and rethink the city and housing provision. It is a chance to take advantage of the urgency to solve other contemporary issues/pressing issues like the general lack of affordable housing stock and developing social inclusive cities

About IFHP Housing Academy


What is it?
The IFHP Housing Academy aims to gather the relevant urban professionals throughout 2016 -17 to rethink the accessibility of the housing market for vulnerable groups in the hosting European cities. The IFHP Housing Academy has a network with more than 50 professionals engaged in working daily on this topic. It is about turning a house into a home and a combination of housing, integration, connectivity and social coherence.

The aim of the programme is to develop a plan and find solutions to a selected concrete case in the host city. Local and international experts and professionals join forces and can skip corners due to the interactive process in which we will meet, work, share and learn. The combination of working together and learning is the core of the activity; The Academy.

The partner cities both host an implementation lab and travel to visit the other partner cities to participate in their labs. All labs are also joined by a group of international, relevant, selected experts and professionals. They will bring with them a critical understanding of the policies and practices around Europe which will be matched with the local expertise and knowledge.
 
>>Download the folder IFHP Housing Academy!

Interested in more information about the IFHP Housing Academy and a detailed budget? Please contact:

>>Huibert Haccou, IFHP Council member and chair of the IFHP Housing Refugee Programme:t.haccou@tip.nl, +31 653544764
>>Christina Krog, IFHP senior project manager, c.krog@ifhp.org, +45 22909105

Alexander Betts: Our refugee system is failing. Here’s how we can fix it.

This post is based on the TED Talk given by Alexander Betts, on February 2016. Alexander Betts is the Leopold Muller Professor of Forced Migration and International Affairs, and the Director of the Refugee Studies Centre at the University of Oxford. You can read more about him in his personal page.


“There are times when I feel really quite ashamed to be a European. In the last year, more than a million people arrived in Europe in need of our help, and our response, frankly, has been pathetic.”

Alexander Betts, TED Talk February 2016.

In the first part of his presentation, Alexander Betts, reflects on several contradictions, e.g. “refugees are a shared responsibility, and yet we accept that tiny Lebanon hosts more Syrians than the whole of Europe combined” concluding with two simple questions: What are we doing? How did we reach this point?

The answer is simple. This crisis reflects a lack of vison from our politicians, a vision for how to adapt an international refugee system (with more than 50 years) to a changing and globalized world. To explain, Alexander Betts elaborates on why is the current system not working and what we can do to fix it.

Why is the current system not working?

The actual system was created after WWII to ensure that when a state fails, or worse, turns against its own people, people have somewhere to go, to live in safety and dignity until they can go home. However, today, our immigration policies block the path to safety keeping people stuck in almost indefinite limbo. He explains that, it is not because the rules of the system are wrong, but because we have not been able to adapt them to today’s reality.

From a refugee standpoint there are three main options: go to a camp (with all the restrictions that a camp implies); go to an urban area in a neighboring country (where they are likely to face urban destitution); or seek hope by risking their lives on a dangerous and perilous journey to another country (happening in Europe today). Encampment, urban destitution or a dangerous journey?

Alexander says that these are not the only three existing choices. However, they seem to be, because politicians believe that if we “benefit” refugees, we are “imposing costs” on citizens, and therefore we tend to have a collective assumption that refugees are an inevitable cost or burden to our societies. Which is not true.

What can we do to fix it?

It is possible to expand the number of choices and still benefit everyone else – the host states and communities, and the refugees’ themselves – by taking advantage of the opportunities globalization, mobility and the markets offer, and update the way we think about refugees. Alexander proposes four ways to achieve that:

Enabling environments. This means starting by recognizing that refugees are human beings like everyone else, though they are in extraordinary circumstances. Rather than seeing refugees as inevitably dependent upon humanitarian assistance, we need to provide them with opportunities for human flourishing. Meaning giving them equal opportunities (the right to work, freedom of movement, etc.).

Economic zones. An economic zone in which we could potentially integrate the employment of refugees alongside the employment of host nationals.

Preference matching between states and refugees. The economist Alvin Roth has developed the idea of matching markets, ways in which the preference ranking of the parties shapes an eventual match. The idea is the same but applied to refugees. Ask refugees to rank their preferred destinations and allow states to rank the types of refugees they want (based on skills criteria or language criteria), and allow those to match.

Humanitarian visas. If refugees could just travel directly and seek asylum in Europe, we would avoid dangerous journeys and smugglers. Through a humanitarian visa that people could collect at an embassy or a consulate in a neighboring country and then simply pay his or her own way through a ferry or a flight to Europe, these situations could be avoid.

These are just four ideas/ways in which we can have greater choices for refugees beyond those basic three: encampment, urban destitution and dangerous journeys.

“Yes, they are a humanitarian responsibility, but they are human beings with skills, talents, aspirations, with the ability to contribute, if we let them.[…] Not based on the old logics of humanitarian assistance, not based on logics of charity, but building on the opportunities offered by globalization, markets and mobility.”

Alexander Betts, TED Talk February 2016.


andreia fidalgo
Andreia Fidalgo

Member of the IFHP office in Copenhagen
Project Assistant of the Housing Refugees Project

Disclaimer: The views expressed on this site are those of the authors of the blogposts and do not reflect those of the International Federation of Housing and Planning.

Latest News!!

Homes for refugees, – and everyone else

DK Housing Refugee Meeting 280116_photo_Francois David05This is the second national meeting taking place in Denmark within the IFHP programme of Housing of Refugees and Migrants. The first meeting took place in January 2016.
The objective of the meeting is to provide a platform for:
1. A network of professionals engaged in housing refugees, whom are interested in working cross sectorial, aimed at turning houses into homes.
2. Sharing challenges, knowledge and solutions regarding how to navigate the present situation with housing stock under increasing pressure.
The participants will be expected to actively discuss, share and learn.  Sign up! 
NB. The meeting will be held in Danish.
More information here.

SYRIAN VOICES

imagesRefugees in Jordan share their stories by UNDP

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), now celebrating 50 years, focuses on resilience and livelihoods in its work on behalf of the most vulnerable in Syria and in the countries struggling with the impacts of the Syrian crisis.

In Exposure you can read some of the UNDP stories.

This time meet some of the Syrian refugees living in Jordan who are raising their voices to tell the world what is happening in Syria. Here are their stories.


 

EU Migration Crisis

385928980_9eb6180d1b_zMédecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is a worldwide movement that provides assistance to populations in distress, to victims of natural or man-made disasters and to victims of armed conflict, regardless of race, religion, creed or political convictions.

This month (March 2016) they wrote a very interesting article with an update on the current situation in Europe and its role in this crisis. You can read about how the European Union and the  European governments led to the worsening of the refugee crisis in 2015, and the humanitarian consequences of border closures.

Read the full article here.


 

CHILDREN PAY THE BIGGEST PRICE FOR THE EU’S FLAWED RESPONSE

By SAVE THE CHILDREN

Save the Children290740816_1280x720 is the world’s leading independent organisation for children, working in  120 countries. Save children’s lives, fight for their rights and help them fulfil their potential is their mission.

This month (March 2016) they wrote about how the European Union current lack of response and failing with refugee children.

In their article you can read “As leaders meet in Brussels to agree a deal to solve the crisis, they are prioritising the security of their borders over the safety of children. Forty per cent of those arriving in Greece in February 2016 were minors and, since the start of 2016 alone, nearly two per day have lost their lives crossing the sea.”

 

Read the full article here.

2 billion Euros for the construction of affordable homes

Hufeisensiedlung_Tueren_Details_divStrassen_2011_RGB_1280px_©BenBuschfeldBy Housing Europe

A solution to the housing shortage is necessary; refugees must be accommodated in time; and it should be avoided that they occupy the accommodations that are needed by low-income German families.

Read the full article here.

 


Stay tuned for our next posts! We will refresh the Latest News every 15 days. Contact us if you want specific content.

andreia fidalgo
Andreia Fidalgo

Member of the IFHP office in Copenhagen
Project Assistant of the Housing Refugees Project

Disclaimer: The views expressed on this site are those of the authors of the blogposts and do not reflect those of the International Federation of Housing and Planning.

Latest News!!

#Vluchtroute

©citiesintransition.eu/10201
©citiesintransition.eu/10201

 

This week in Amsterdam #Vluchtroute – a refugee focus week

From Monday March 14 to Fiday March 18 Pakhuis de Zwijger will pay special attention to the refugee crisis with dinners, films, and conversations, and it is all free of charge.
Check their programme here.

The Refugee Phrasebook

By www.bisnode.hr (refugeephrasebook.de) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons
By www.bisnode.hr (refugeephrasebook.de) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons
The Refugee Phrasebook is a multilingual tool that provides basic useful vocabulary related to the most common immediate needs. It is an open collaborative project that is aimed to provide the most important vocabulary to refugees, by assembling important phrases from various fields and encouraging designers and experts in the field to improve on the material. 
The project is noncommercial and the books will be available for free. They are also creating a Medical and a Juridical Phrasebook.
Please check them out here.

FIVE YEARS

downloadFive years on Syria’s conflict has originated  4.8 million refugees in neighbouring countries, hundreds of thousands in Europe, and 6.6 million people displaced inside Syria. Syria population was about 20 million before the war as started. Read more about the latest UNHCR numbers on Syria.

On March 30, the UNHCR will be host a high-level international conference in Geneva, calling on governments for a major increase in places for Syrians. To this day, around 170,000 places have been secured by governments around the world.  This meeting will be an opportunity for governments and communities to boost their support for Syrians.

Read more at the UNHCR website.

 


Forum “Civil Society Welcoming Refugees in Europe”

downloadApril 4th to 10th 2016, Berlin.

The Forum “Civil Society Welcoming Refugees in Europe” is an initiative from the InMOE e.V. short for Initiative Mittel- und Osteuropa e.V. .

InMOE e.V. is a non-profit-organisation, based in Berlin, which connects 30 organisations from Central and Eastern Europe in a network aiming at strengthen civic commitment.

This Forum will be an opportunity for actively engaged people to step out of their work and meet with other like-minded and similarly engaged activists, volunteers, social workers etc. The purpose is to deliberate the situation, exchange experiences and inspire or even coordinate next steps of action. Read more on their website.

 


Stay tuned for our next posts! We will refresh the Latest News every 15 days. Contact us if you want specific content.

andreia fidalgo
Andreia Fidalgo

Member of the IFHP office in Copenhagen
Project Assistant of the Housing Refugees Project

Disclaimer: The views expressed on this site are those of the authors of the blogposts and do not reflect those of the International Federation of Housing and Planning.

The 18th Nordic Migration Conference, 2016

Migration and social inequality: Global perspectives – new boundaries

August 11-12 2016, Oslo

The University of Oslo in cooperation with the Nordic Migration Research and the Norwegian Network for Migration Research will welcome the 18th Nordic Migration Conference. This conference takes place every two year with a interdisciplinary and international outlook.

In an increasingly globalized world, boundaries of class, nationality, ethnicity, gender and legal statuses are intersecting in new ways, giving rise to changing and new dimensions of inequality within and between both migrant sending and migrant receiving societies. This years focus will be to explore the diverse links between international migration and social inequality, in a Nordic, European and global context. Read more.

 

Open call for paper abstracts

The call for paper abstracts is open from February 1st until March 15th. Read more.

Workshops

Here you can read a detailed description of each workshop. Check Workshop proposal nr. 42 – Housing and its influence on the everyday lives of asylum seekers.

 

Stay tuned for our next posts!

andreia fidalgoAndreia Fidalgo

Member of the IFHP office in Copenhagen
Project Assistant of the Housing Refugees Project

Disclaimer: The views expressed on this site are those of the authors of the blogposts and do not reflect those of the International Federation of Housing and Planning.

Remembering a community’s response to racism towards immigrants in East London

In Dr. Gina Netto’s recent post on this blog, she writes:

“Extensive work needs to be undertaken with existing communities, including investing in new accommodation for the local population and with community development in order to avoid racial hostility and tension. Local communities should be prepared for the arrival of refugees. Awareness of the reasons for forced migration should be raised. Local residents should also be assured that they would not be disadvantaged through increased pressure on services. The allocation of housing to refugees in these areas should be gradual, allowing existing residents to become accustomed to new arrivals over time.”

The importance of these considerations is evident when looking at the Isle of Dogs in the borough of Tower Hamlets, East London during early 1990s. Due to a sense of unfair housing policy and opportunist scapegoating by the extreme political right, a period of outright social conflict occurred. A councilor for the British National Party (BNP) was elected and a nasty spike in racially motivated hate crimes occurred. As a child growing up on the Island with parents involved in the movement against racism, some of my earliest memories were formed during the campaign to stop the BNP.

Context

The Isle of Dogs is surrounded on three sides by the Thames and on the northern edge by the artificial water of Docklands, so it’s a tucked away pocket of the city. Historically, Docklands was an important hub for Britain’s imperial trading system and for many island residents a reliable source of work, but the docks closure in 1980 lead to increased local unemployment. Thatcher’s solution was to develop Docklands into a financial district and up went the skyscrapers in Canary Wharf. In particular, there was a constraint on housing. The Conservative’s ‘Right to Buy’ policy had reduced the housing stock in Tower Hamlets between 1981 and 1993 by 28%, a factor which combined with long housing waiting lists created competition for and pressure on public housing. My dad, who was an Anglican vicar on the Isle of Dogs from 1988 to 1995, recalls that it’s “a place that’s been governed by things from outside that have had an impact on the local community and local people that they’ve not been in control of.”

Enter ‘Outsiders’…

During the 1980s Britain received an influx of Bangladeshi families fleeing armed conflict in their homeland. In Tower Hamlets, many Bangladeshi families were awaiting housing whilst living in harshly inadequate or overcrowded conditions, in some cases with settled relatives in the north of the borough or in some cases outright homeless. When these people were moved into social housing on the Isle of Dogs, local people who had been waiting for housing several years were aggrieved. The perception arose that these ‘outsiders’ received underserved preferential treatment. Motivated by more than simply fear or prejudice towards foreigners – although these were partly evident – the hostility was a result of a failure to communicate and justify that council’s housing policy allocated homes based on the highest need, rather than length of time on the list.

Extreme politics  

The perceived injustice was exploited by the BNP – a spin-off of the neo-nazi National Front – who stirred up the housing issue by overplaying its ethnic dimension. For the BNP, practically every problem relating to Island life was brought back to immigration. It was vulnerable ethnic minorities, rather than policy-makers, who became the scapegoats and faced harsh discrimination. And in September 1993, thanks to a split in the vote to the left, the openly racist British National Party were able to gain their first ever election victory by winning a council seat. During this time numerous acts of racist hate crime took place, including violence and arson. Indeed between January 1993 and January 1994, reported attacks on the Isle of Dogs increased by 300 per cent, 71% of the victims being Asian. Sadly, for some people the electoral result legitimised the discrimination. My mum, who was a secondary school teacher, remembers that following the election “it became OK to be racist. It was like a cloud hanging over the Isle of Dogs.”

Community response

School Uniform with Rainbow Ribbon – 1994 © Edward Werb

In response to an openly racist elected councilor and an increasing sense of a divide community, a broad based alliance of community institutions joined together, which included faith institutions (such as my dad’s church), unions, housing associations and community groups. The struggle was to come together around the agenda of social inclusion and challenge the discriminatory BNP whilst simultaneously addressing legitimate concerns about social alienation.

A community peace group was co-founded by my mum, which, as an act of positive symbolism, distributed thousands of little rainbow ribbons for locals to wear in support of multiculturalism. The group’s slogan was ‘Celebrate the Difference’. My mum says “head teachers allowed students to wear them and they loved making their uniforms more interesting. Teachers and the doctors wore them too. The ribbons changed the mood on the island- Bangladeshis could see they did have support.” The following year a higher voter turnout was mobilized and, in what was widely seen as a victory for campaigners, the BNP lost their seat at the first opportunity.

 Lessons

This case is an instance of how housing and immigration can combine to spark tension. A key lesson from the Isle of Dogs is that transparency is essential. Policy-makers and local government must communicate clearly what they’re doing, be understood and in return listen to local people’s views, especially when minority groups receive priority. Another lesson is that the role of civil societies institutions – in particular faith institutions, who tend to have both a physical and relational presence in every community – working alongside local government can be instrumental in achieving social cohesion. Furthermore, the success of distributing rainbow ribbons amongst the community shows a positive, visible way of rejecting discrimination and showing solidarity with newcomers. Is it time for those working to integrate today’s refugees to wear similar symbols of support?

Sources

Foster, J. (1999) “Docklands: Culture in Conflict, Worlds in Collision.” London: UCL.

Holtam, T. (2009) “How were the British National Party successfully warded off the Isle of Dogs after their local by-election victory of September 1993?” MA Thesis, Sussex.

Mayo, S. & Holtam, N. (1998) “Learning From the Conflict. Reflections on the struggle against the BNP on the Isle of Dogs.” Jubilee Group.

Phil

Phil Holtam

Recent Sustainability Science graduate based in Copenhagen

Disclaimer: The views expressed on this site are those of the authors of the blogposts and do not reflect those of the International Federation of Housing and Planning.

Latest news!!

80.000
© UNHCR/H.Holland

UNHCR reported more than 80,000 refugees and migrants arrived in Europe by boat during the first six weeks of 2016 – more than in the first four months of 2015, despite the rough seas and severe winter. In the face of the dangers, over 2,000 people a day continue to risk their lives attempting to reach Europe.

Read the full story.

 

 


© European Union / Wim Daneels

“Whether in my own municipality, or far away, I firmly believe that people who are forced to flee their country and leave everything they have behind, deserve our support.” And, “I believe that protection of refugees in their areas of origin must be part of a holistic approach to care for refugees. It should not be used as an argument to deny all people the right to apply for asylum in Europe.” Says Hans Janssen (EPP/NL), European Committee of the Regions rapporteur on the “Protection of refugees in their areas of origin: a new perspective 2016”.

Read full interview here.

 


Camp_for_Sri_Lankan_refugees_in_Tamil_Nadu40 Sri Lankan refugees returned to their home country, supported by Germany, along with the UNHCR after have been living in Tamil Nadu since the early 90s.

Read more on the Times of India.

 

 


 

scotland flagMedically trained and qualified refugees are being offered the chance to use their skills and contribute to Scotland’s National Health Service (NHS). The New Refugee Doctors Project is one of the most important initiatives recently undertaken by civic Scotland. The Glasgow-based project will help to prevent de-skilling, offer the opportunity to observe the NHS in action and opportunities to experience the reality of working as a doctor in Scotland.

Read more here.

 


 

IFHP_ones_Refugees_final (002)_Page_01In the second half of 2015 the IFHP Housing Refugee Programme has opened the discussion on how to provide adequate housing for refugees as the migrant “crisis” in Europe continues to divide political and societal opinions. We published two reports, identified three major obstacles and developed 7 considerations. Lastly, we have published a report, which wraps up the work in 2015.

Read the full publication here.

 

 

 

Stay tuned for our next posts! We will refresh the Latest News every 15 days. Contact us if you want specific content.

andreia fidalgo
Andreia Fidalgo

Member of the IFHP office in Copenhagen
Project Assistant of the Housing Refugees Project

 

Disclaimer: The views expressed on this site are those of the authors of the blogposts and do not reflect those of the International Federation of Housing and Planning.

BLOG: A sense of belonging

To house refugees in an area by themselves will most likely lead to segregation and ghettoization which we normally try to avoid when we develop our cities.

Christina Krog, senior manager at the IFHP, has written a comment to the current political debate in the Danish parliament Folketinget. The parliament has requested the government to come up with proposals of how to house refugees in what is being called “refugee villages”.


“Allow me to start by saying that the idea of building so called villages exclusively to house refugees’ sounds like a very bad idea.

Among other topics at IFHP we work with housing of refugees, – both in Europe and in Denmark. We do so because it is part of our DNA to care about how we create better cities for people. We know quite a lot about social cohesive cities, about which tools and methods to meet the intended development and last but not least; Why the diverse city often is more innovative than the city in a pleasant comfort zone.

Since August 2015 IFHP has been working with housing of refugees in Europe, as several of our European members have pointed out we need to work together to deal with this challenge. That’s what we do: Work together to solve challenges. We share knowledge about problems and solutions, we help to translate them into own terms to make inspiration relevant locally. As professionals we believe we can contribute with solutions and perspectives unbiased and without political agendas.

It is intelligent, however NOT rocket science. But we feel obliged to sound an alarm in conjunction with the idea of establishing national refugee villages.

Normally we do what we can to avoid creating ghettos. There are few good examples of a neighbourhood created for a selected group of inhabitants. On the contrary, numerous examples exist of what it may lead to, when a neighbourhood with a specific population, albeit one that is in a minority, is isolated and detached from the rest of the city.

Just think of why we invest large sum in refurbishment of existing ghettos in most cities across Europe to dissolve segregation. Take a look around in your own city and you can probably easily find your own examples.

The segregated city with disconnected neighbourhoods is NOT the solution. Neither for the elite nor for the marginalised. In short; we simply do not have great examples of “gated communities” or ghettos being the source of creating prosperous cities. Which is why progressive cities today aim at developing cities with neighbourhoods which accommodate several functions and offer housing at different price range. So the idea to set up refugee villages isolated from the surrounding society is therefore not a good solution. Even if one assumes it is temporary. Firstly, because it almost always turns out that it becomes permanent. Secondly because there globally is a great demand for more affordable housing.”


The Danish government, as many other national and local governments, ought to solve the challenge of accommodating refugees by in general providing more affordable housing which is long-term sustainable and a benefit also for the existing population.

During the autumn 2015, the IFHP Housing Refugee Programme published seven considerations for when you work with housing of refugees, based on three main challenges. Read more about this in the report (http://www.ifhp.org/product/ifhp-ones-housing-refugees-programme-2015), and let us know what your current challenge is and share your approach and solutions with us all.

This is a shortened and edited version of the original comment, published at www.altinget.dk, 26 January

 

Christina Krog

Christina Krog

Member of the IFHP office in Copenhagen
Project Manager of the Housing Refugees Programme

 

Disclaimer: The views expressed on this site are those of the authors of the blogposts and do not necessarily reflect those of the International Federation of Housing and Planning.

 

BLOG: An afternoon meeting on Housing Refugees

On January 28th, the IFHP in conjunction with the Danish Town Planning Institute invited the Danish network of municipalities, planners, developers and community to an afternoon dedicated to the housing of refugees. The meeting ‘Fyraftensmøde: Boligplacering af flygtninge’ took place in Copenhagen at the IFHP headquarters.

The aim was to share knowledge, discuss challenges and co-create the process of becoming agile to match the current and coming situations. This resulted in a functional space to connect interested professionals within housing refugees.

The discussiDK Housing Refugee Meeting 280116_photo_Francois David05on was initialized by the presentation of the current IFHP Housing Refugees Programme and followed by the presentation of Ole Bondo Christensen, Mayor of Furesø Kommune. Both presentations opened the space for dialogue.

The meeting counted with the participation of 53 professionals, from municipalities and NGOs, to developers and architects. Social services, urban planning, employment and integration were the represented sectors. Some significant questions and answers from the discussion were raised on this presentation, included:

“What is the best option to house refugees? Build new buildings or create other kind of alternatives like hosting in family houses or hotels?”

“Building in Denmark is extremely expensive and it is a long process, and we need to solve the problem faster.”

After the first Q&A people were asked to join in groups and think about how they could participate to the effective change of the current situation, and how they could engage with the network to establish partnerships, solutions, and carry further dialogue. Main topics discussed were:

– De-regulation of building regulations – for a limited time;
– Flexible and temporary housing;
– Housing is integration;
– The sectors need to be re-thought to match the current and future needs.

The political discourse at the national level in Denmark was not evident among the participants, who were driven by having a task or an idea and wanting to contribute to solve the current challenge. One participant asked: What would you do if these new citizens were your children?

The last 30 minutes of the meeting were spent on a discussion among the participants about “What next?” The majority indicated they would like to meet again, some had specific topics they want to further discuss, and others were more intrigued by the inter-disciplinary inspiration and talks.

The IFHP, along with the Danish Town Planning Institute, will wrap-up the feedback from the meeting and propose a new one, to realize if there is an interest and engagement from the participants.

 

Stay tuned for our next posts!

andreia fidalgo
Andreia Fidalgo
Member of the IFHP office in Copenhagen
Project Assistant of the Housing Refugees Project

 

Disclaimer: The views expressed on this site are those of the authors of the blogposts and do not reflect those of the International Federation of Housing and Planning.