Mass housing and climate change:
Innovative solutions towards carbon-neutral mass-housing renewal in the context of climate change
challenges and solutions
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WORKSHOP: 18.10.21 and 19.10.21
public conference: 20.10
WHERE: online (youtube)
Mass housing and climate change:
challenges and solutions
MASS HOUSING CONFERENCE
Concluding summary
Even though they represented a huge progress when they were erected, lifting at great speed the standards of living for hundreds of thousands of people who were provided with space, water, light and electricity, mass housing units today suffer from a relatively negative image. They can be found on all continents, in cities as different as Seoul, Paris, Moscow, Leipzig, Tashkent, Tokyo, Beijing, Cairo, Casablanca or São Paulo. Their stock is so huge that it cannot be replaced in the foreseeable future for ecological, economic and social reasons. Having been built several decades ago, with too little maintenance investment and too rigid planning rules, an important part of it is in urgent need of regeneration today. And more units keep on being built using the same concepts, leading to similar and unsatisfactory results.
The time has therefore come to rejuvenate the ambition of Modern architecture, which was to improve the lives of as many people as possible, by responding to the climatic, ecological and social emergencies of our time, which are particularly felt in the realm of urban housing. At the same time, the ongoing covid-19 epidemic has blurred the boundaries between work and home, further advocating for mixed-use planning, and reminding the importance of good quality, healthy housing for all. Given the size of the mass housing stock, its modernization could have a significant impact in the fight against climate change, all the while improving the lives of millions. And since so many of them share the same characteristics, good solutions bear the potential to be reproduced worldwide.
With the aim to address the regeneration of mass housing units, the organizers of this initiative on mass housing and climate change have defined ten key principles that should guide all stakeholders involved in any such project.
1
Every renewal project should relate to its local context. The transformation should be designed drawing on the local climate and landscape. It should also promote local culture, design, materials, communities and stakeholders. It should strengthen shared identities, a sense of place and overall social cohesion.
2
Every project should allow for diversity and adaptation. Their transformation should accommodate a changing climate, as well as diverse lifestyles and new technologies.
3
Every renewal project should be environmentally efficient, by limiting pollution and waste throughout the process, by using carbon neutral materials, and by striving to achieve the highest energy-efficiency standards possible. Their overall design should promote eco-friendly behaviours among their inhabitants.
4
Mass housing should also be made environmentally resilient. Regeneration projects should enhance the resilience to climate change, as well as improve the management of natural and environmental hazards through mitigation strategies.
5
Every transformation project should be people-centered and inclusive. All the more since mass housing already exists and is inhabited, residents’ ideas, needs and wishes should be integrated in the planning process. Mass housing renewal should tackle inequalities based on gender, race and identity. The sense of ownership should be strengthened for all inhabitants, no matter their status (landowners or renters).
6
Every mass housing renewal project should provide mixed uses within walking distance. Since mass housing gathers per se a lot of inhabitants, all transformation projects should increase the provision of functions to satisfy all essential needs of their residents within walking distance. Mass housing neighbourhoods should not be considered to be just housing, but active and economically vibrant city cells. Culture should also be promoted.
7
Every mass housing neighbourhood should be better connected with public transport to the rest of the city. Transformation projects should aim at making these areas transit-friendly.
8
Renewal should result in more affordable, accessible and equitable housing. Regeneration projects should strive to provide more space, more light, more comfort and better housing services without rising housing costs. Mass housing renewal projects should enhance the socioeconomic resilience of their residents.
9
Every transformation project should integrate health and safety issues. Housing design should encourage both the physical and mental health of their residents, as well as promote their overall well-being. The surroundings should be open to the public as much as possible with good quality public spaces.
10
Cities and regions (local authorities) play a key role in conducting mass housing transformation projects, notably through planning, coordination, regulation or finance. They should be the catalyst for mass housing renovation, in close partnership with other stakeholders at the local, national and supranational levels, including the civil society, private actors and academia.

ABOUT THE EVENT
More or less similar mass housing has been erected everywhere in the 20th century
Up to 80% of cities' fabric worldwide is residential. This fabric not only provides dwellings for millions of citizens, it also defines the quality of the urban environment as a whole — social comfort, microclimate, visual diversity and opportunities for local businesses to grow. A significant share of these residential units has been produced after the Second World War, when urban population tripled in only 50 years' time. There was no time to think of tailored solutions for each neighborhood, and industrial construction technologies played a key role in answering the increasing demand. This legacy of modernist mass housing districts can be found on all continents, in cities as different as Seoul, Paris, Moscow, Leipzig, Tashkent, Tokyo, Beijing, Cairo, Casablanca or São Paulo.
Climate change, among others, has made this mass housing obsolete today
Their design and planning led to many unmatched expectations for the quality of life of their residents, and they are in need of adaptation in the context of climate change. The stock of mass housing is so huge that it cannot be replaced in the foreseeable future for ecological, economic and social reasons; and it keeps on growing today. Mass housing units should be considered an opportunity for developers, architects and planners, as good solutions bear the potential to be reproduced worldwide. Their modernization could have a significant impact in the fight against climate change.
Since so many share the same problems, we believe that solutions to regenerate mass housing should be designed in a collaborative way
This three-day event (workshop + public conference) organized by Strelka KB in partnership with the ISOCARP Institute, sponsored by the UN-Habitat’s World Urban Campaign and the European Union Delegation in Russia, is the launch of an international initiative to tackle mass housing’s inadaptation to climate change, by sharing intelligence between students and professionals.
The results of this event will be further presented online at the COP-26 on November 10th.
Partners

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WORKSHOP
Sign up to participate in a 2-day workshop to design solutions for the modernization of mass housing units in different climatic zones. Teams of up to 10 participants from different backgrounds will unite force and intelligence to propose innovative ideas for mass housing
WORKSHOP
Sign up to participate in a 2-day workshop to design solutions for the modernization of mass housing units in different climatic zones. Teams of up to 10 participants from different backgrounds will unite force and intelligence to propose innovative ideas for mass housing
REGISTER

REGISTER
PUBLIC CONFERENCE
Register to listen to professionals from UN-Habitat, the EU, ISOCARP, Strelka KB and others, who will share their experience on the challenges and solutions to address the inadequacy of mass housing in a changing climate.
PUBLIC CONFERENCE
Register to listen to professionals from UN-Habitat, the EU, ISOCARP, Strelka KB and others, who will share their experience on the challenges and solutions to address the inadequacy of mass housing in a changing climate.
REGISTER

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