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hqdefaultOver the past six months, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism has been aggregating unpublished statistics from the 17 European governments (15 member states + Norway and Switzerland) in an attempt to build a comprehensive picture detailing the scale of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

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.

BLOG: 2015 THE YEAR OF THE REFUGEES

2015 WILL STAY IN HISTORY AS A RECORD YEAR FOR REFUGEES

More than one million refugees arrived in Europe in 2015, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM). In total, until December 21st, 1.005.504 reached Europe mainly through Greece, Spain, Italy, Bulgaria, Malta and Cyprus.

Most of the refugees came from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan fleeing conflict and poverty, and the large majority – 816 752 refugees – arrived in Europe by sea through Greece. Around 3700 have been reported missing with thousands dead through shipwreck and drowning in the Mediterranean. Despite the increasing flow of refugees coming to northern Europe, the majority flee to other countries. Currently, approximately 2.2 million Syrian refugees are in Turkey, while Lebanon holds 1.1 million Syrian nationals.

The EU, its institutions, and its member states have specific legal obligations towards individuals within its territory and at its land and sea borders. In a world characterized by rising displacement, conflict, and human rights abuse, EU leadership is more important than ever.

Integration is now the “big challenge”, says Ruth Schöffl, spokesperson in Vienna for the UNHCR, in interview to Lusa. The issue of integration has become a key point of political debate on refugees. There are however divergent points of view on this matter.

One of the most recent arguments is that several fighters from the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq are in fact born in Europe, and that some of the authors of the terrorist attacks in Paris (November 2015) were European citizens. This has brought proponents of more restrictive (or against) immigration policies to argue against the integration of refugees in Europe, by pointing the neighbourhoods of Saint Denis in Paris, and Molenbeek in Belgium, to name some, as examples of communities where the integration has failed. Racism, xenophobia, and other movements against the reception and asylum of refugees in the EU has also increased over the last months.

However, there is also those whom argue that Europe needs immigrants to counter the aging of its population. A study released this year by the German University of Coburg noted that Germany will need “an annual net balance of between 276,000 and 491,000 immigrants from outside the European Union” to sustain its economy.

However, to meet the needs of the European economy, integration programmes are needed. Much will depend on the integration capacity of the hosting countries. It is vital to create training programmes to teach the language and give the necessary skills to be able to enter the labour market. It is vital to invest in education and housing programmes to facilitate the integration process.

At the IFHP we are looking into the housing refugees status quo and trying to draw lessons from housing solutions around Europe and the international community to facilitate the housing process.

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.

BLOG: To rehouse refugees

I read a blog post by Anne-Marie Slaughter about different ideas for how to rehouse refugees. It argues that

“[…] it is time to embrace the prospect not of camps but of cities – places where up to a million refugees of any particular nationality can live safely and learn how to build a better future.”

Further down in the text the author continues:

“ […] refugee settlements should be fundamentally re-conceived – as hubs of education, enterprise, and equal rights that
can anchor networks of relatives and friends that extend back home and around the world
.”

I could not agree more. Being part of IFHP which origins lie in the Garden City Movement in the UK and was founded in 1913, the social concerns for making cities better places for people are part of my DNA.
It is time to reflect and innovate the way Europe is dealing with the refugee and migrant influx. And luckily many feel the same way. One idea, currently pursued by an Egyptian billionaire, is to buy deserted islands and let refugees establish the society they need. Inspired by the Chinese urbanisation strategy another idea is to build cities in the neighbouring countries for the migrants/refugees, which also will benefit the existing population.

I wonder what it is I do not understand? We are discussing where to rehouse newcomers:
1. as if it is a thing that we can fix
2. because we have to as they already are here
3. for humanitarian reasons

Looking back to learnings from history, outstanding and prosperous civilisations taking a leap of faith often were exposed to either hostile take-overs or a more friendly influx of new comers. Civilisations succumbing often do so due to an inability to adapt to the impact, – it being climate changes, new inventions or learnings.

Part of adapting is to innovate and develop; Europeans’ life expectancy is rising while the birth rate is declining. So why:

– do our governments not argue we need newcomers?
– are we not competing to attract newcomers to adapt new challenges and to insure a prosperous future?
– Why do I seem to missing out on the explanation, explaining the current strategy?

 

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: How IFHP is tackling the housing refugee crisis

In the wake of recent events, with Europe accepting the largest numbers of refugees ever and a common shortage of housing across the main European cities, the International Federation of Housing and Planning wishes to create a space that is open to debate, to raise awareness, and to promote participation amongst our society.  It is necessary to provide housing and support services to receive, accommodate and integrate refugees. There are currently 60 million refugees and internally displaced people across the globe who are fleeing violence, persecution, and terrorism who seek better conditions for living a decent life. The international community is committed to protect and host those who flee persecution and conflict.

It is our obligation and dedication to fight for increased assistance to all refugees who are in need of housing. Turning our backs to refugees and their needs is to close ones eyes to the development of future generations of Europeans citizens. We hope that you will join us as we work to promote the need for better housing and integration solutions for all.

These past months were the first of, what we hope to be a participatory and society-engaged process, as we want to strengthen the network of experts and people interested in this area. Both in our everyday lives and/or professions, we are all aware of this dramatic situation and it is our responsibility to act on it.

This blog is for all. Finding the next steps and actions is something we want to discuss and find out through your ideas.

What do you think we should do next?

Do you have an idea you want us to work on? Or help you with?

Our blog is a platform to share, discuss and listen. We realise we need to talk and work togehter on this matter.

The first step towards integration is housing! Has Europe been able to provide suitable housing for refugees? For the past 3 months, the IFHP has been working on this topic through debates, presentations and workshops to understand the current state of affairs and create the base for future developments.


So what have we been doing?
We have published two reports, conducted a workshop and participated in a congress and summit event.


How are we doing it?
Report 1. The IFHP Housing Refugees Report 1 assessed the status quo of housing refugee policy and provision across various EU member states. The findings were collated through a literature review and a questionnaire sent to housing experts and IFHP correspondents across EU countries. Participating countries were Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain and Sweden.

r1Findings:
– Absence of a holistic European housing policy and differing national and regional policy and resources.
EU faces a housing shortage, particularly within the social and affordable housing sectors.

– Refugees face multiple obstacles in gaining access to adequate housing. Reasons for this include lower housing and social support subsidies as well as complex and differential housing allocation processes.

– Many EU States experience a lack of social considerations when approaching the housing of refugees. Including poor coordination of housing and integration factors such as employment, education and training, health and social services.


Workshop + Report 2. The IFHP Refugees Report 2 is a collection of the discussion and conclusions gathered during the 2-day workshop in the Netherlands based on the findings from
the Report 1. Three topics were the base for the workshop discussion:
Housing & Integration, Housing Policy & Affordable Housing Allocation, and Zoning & Planning Regulation.

The workshop led to a series of considerations, under the three above-mentioned themes, that the group present considered the most imperative.

R2CONSIDERATIONS:

Housing and Integration
– Housing Pathways. It should be considered that housing and integration services are combined in a ‘pathway’ approach
– Matchmaking. It should be considered that matchmaking solutions could better respond to both refugees and municipalities’ needs

Housing Policy & Affordable Housing Allocation
– Housing Policy. It should be considered that a multi-agent approach is adopted to honour diversity in policy-making
– Affordable Housing. When providing permanent accommodation the demographic of the existing population should be taken into account.

Planning & Associated Regulation
– Planning regulation. It should be considered that planning regulations allow for a certain degree of plasticity and flexibility within both spatial planning and housing regulation
– Reallocation of zoning. It should be considered that planning zones are reallocated to enable the increased provision of affordable housing
– Associated building regulations. It should be considered that associated building regulations could be met under a phased programme.


Participation on the 51st ISOCARP Congress. At the 51st ISOCARP Congress, the considerations from the workshop were presented. The attendants at the congress showed their engagement and will to participate in further discussions and workshops promoted by the IFHP.


summit1st IFHP Summit. The morning of the IFHP Summit 2015 was dedicate to the theme of Housing Refugees and Migrants, with a specific focus on the Federal State of Berlin, where the Summit was hosted. The presentations emphasized the growing pressure on the housing market in Berlin, especially on the affordable and social sectors, as the city has been seeing a growth of population and a deficit in housing provision. It was pointed that there is a need to create space for housing (in the existing stock) through refurbishment and renovation of the existing housing units and other spaces. It was possible to establish several parallels between the challenges faced in Berlin and the findings from the IFHP programme, which leads us to conclude that housing provision to refugees across the different European countries and cities, face comparable challenges.


Next steps?

We will use this BLOG as a platform to share information, knowledge, events, and generate ideas on this matter. Please stay posted on our latest developments on IFHP website and here.

Any information you would like to share with us is most welcome. Help us to keep the conversation going!!

 
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: Responding to refugee poverty: lessons from local and international research

Europe is now facing a scale of migration that many view as unprecedented. While it is difficult to estimate the exact numbers of people who are migrating to Europe, it is clear that there is an urgent  need to consider responses to refugees, many of whom would have lost their homes, loved ones and possessions. This presents a challenge to individual member states of the European Union, many of which, including the UK, are already facing a severe housing shortage. Yet, even while governments engage in extensive negotiations over the numbers of people to accept, there is evidence of a willingness from some governments and many community organisations to welcome refugees and to consider how they can be assisted in building new lives.

by Dr. Gina Netto

 

Among the most urgent considerations is the housing of refugees. Here, extensive research informs us that housing needs to be considered along with access to other key services including education, services which promote employability, health and social care services. These are needed in order to assist refugees in not only finding routes out of poverty but to thrive. Housing allocation policies need to be sensitive to the demographics of existing communities. Areas with high levels of poverty, deprivation and unemployment – where the arrival of refugees might be viewed as presenting additional competition for available resources – should be avoided, if at all possible.

But alongside this, if it is difficult to find available housing in other areas, then 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.

It is also time to consider what can be learnt from diverse social, political and economic contexts in terms of tackling extreme housing exclusion. A forthcoming report involving case studies in eleven countries that will be published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation will highlight several international lessons (Netto et al, forthcoming). Many of these solutions challenge widely-held conceptions of what constitutes a ‘home’ and the processes of ‘home-making.’

Some of these solutions have been made possible by advancements in technology and design. They present alternatives to not dealing with the economic dimensions of housing exclusion, but also in addressing its social aspects. Perhaps one of the most significant lessons to emerge from this study is the potential for mobilising change and changing the discourse around housing exclusion. In the light of the refugee crisis, this requires viewing the large scale displacement of individuals who are displaced by war and political conflict not as a burden which must be spread, but as an opportunity to consider how we can provide more affordable housing for all.

This week I was invited to a two day workshop on Housing refugees organised by the International Federation of Housing and Planning in Deventer, The Netherlands. Here, academics and practitioners engaged in lively, intense and open debates over what could be done to respond to the needs of refugees. While the housing shortage in many member states of the EU was readily acknowledged as a serious challenge, it was not seen as a barrier. Rather, the current situation was seen as an opportunity for stimulating discussion on the widening of housing options beyond what is conventionally practised in member states, without compromising acceptable standards of accommodation or environmental goals.  Encouragingly, a sense of common purpose united individuals from different political persuasions, cultures and professional orientations and refugees were viewed as part of the solution.

This brought home to me that in considering how we respond to the arrival of refugees, we must not only ensure that the mistakes of the past are not repeated and consider what can be learnt from other contexts. We need to reflect on whom we consider to be inside or outside our ‘imagined community,’ what kind of community we wish to be and the lengths that we are willing to go to achieve this.

Reference

Netto, G, Fitzpatrick, S, Sosenko, F and Smith, H (forthcoming) International lessons on tackling extreme housing exclusion. Joseph Rowntree Foundation: York

Link to IFHP workshop: http://www.ifhp.org/news/housing-refugees

Dr. Gina Netto

Associate Professor/Reader
Institute of Social Policy, Housing, Environment and Real Estate (I-SPHERE)
Heriot Watt University

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.