Viviendas sociales 1737 (Gavà, Barcelona)

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Viviendas sociales 1737 (Gavà, Barcelona)

Mismatches Diversity Vulnerable groups
Urban Design Quality Liveability Inclusion Regulación Técnica Procesos Administrativos
Promotion and production Public promotion Materials Technology

Main objectives of the project

The innovative social housing project by H Arquitectes in Gavá, near Barcelona, demonstrates Catalonia's commitment to low-cost, high-quality housing. Adapted to a triangular plot, the building avoids dead-end corners and offers panoramic views. Apartments feature four adaptable modules and a hybrid structural system for efficiency. Exterior transitions include balconies and glazed galleries, leading to a central atrium that provides natural light and ventilation. With 136 units, the project, backed by IMPSOL, aligns with regional efforts to address housing shortages.

Date

  • 2022: Construction
  • 2017: Ganador

Stakeholders

  • Promotor: IMPSOL
  • Architect: H Arquitectes

Location

Continent: Europe
City: Barcelona
Country/Region: Barcelona, Spain

Description

In recent years, Catalonia has been increasing its public social housing stock with extraordinary low-cost projects. A good example of this architectural excellence is the project by H Arquitectes in Gavá, a small coastal town a few kilometres from Barcelona, between the Garraf massif and the Llobregat delta. The building adapts to the perimeter of a complicated, triangular-shaped plot, breaking the continuity at the corners to avoid dead-end corners that could generate situations of insecurity. In this way, a plot with excellent views and pleasant surroundings is achieved. The building is developed through a system of aggregation that maximises the relationship between the living spaces and the surroundings. All the rooms are exterior and have views of the Ferreres mountain range and the Llobregat Agricultural Park, an area of great environmental interest.

Each dwelling consists of four equal modules of 10.6 square metres, which can be used as living room, kitchen or bedroom. A hybrid structure of screens and concrete slabs separating the dwellings, combined with slender pillars that allow very short and efficient spans, while characterising the space of each room. On both sides of these modules, there are two bands of transition to the exterior: a balcony facing the street and a glazed gallery - where the bathrooms and storage space are located, which can also be attached to the living rooms - towards an atrium where the circulations and vertical communication cores of the whole complex are resolved. Thus, all the spaces have plenty of natural light and cross ventilation.

As explained above, three continuous rings are configured: terrace, programme and circulation, leaving the vertical communication cores inside the atrium. In this way, there are no corridors. The central atrium is a protected and slightly tempered space that ventilates the stairs and makes the dwellings more comfortable. The staircases are very compact and serve four dwellings per landing, giving a total of 136 dwellings.

As for the governance of the project, it is promoted by IMPSOL, Barcelona's public metropolitan developer. Thus, the project is part of a strategy of the city as a whole, together with its adjacent municipalities, to address the growing housing crisis that is being experienced.

The building has been largely awarded: Matilde Baffa Ugo Rivolta 2023 European Award, Shortlisted ‘EU Mies Van der Rohe Award 2024’, ‘III Premis Temps de les Arts’ 2023, Premio ex aequo ‘Premio ENOR 2023’, Premio FAD de la opinión 2023, Finalist "Premios FAD 2023", "Premio en la Bienal Española de Arquitectura y Urbanismo ‘BEAU XVI’ 2023"

Marina del Prat Vermell, Barcelona

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Marina del Prat Vermell, Barcelona

Mismatches Location Diversity
Urban Design Quality Liveability Inclusion
Promotion and production Public promotion

Main objectives of the project

In the Marina del Prat Vermell (Barcelona), a project stands as a model for future social housing developments, addressing both the immediate housing shortage and long-term sustainability goals. By providing high-quality, affordable housing, it plays a key role in alleviating the housing crisis in Barcelona and sets a benchmark for similar projects worldwide.

Date

  • 2023: Construction

Stakeholders

  • Architect: Coll-Leclerc Arquitectos
  • Architect: MIAS

Location

Continent: Europe
City: Barcelona
Country/Region: Barcelona, Spain

Description

La Marina del Prat Vermell, an old textile colony area established in Barcelona in the mid-nineteenth century, lies south of Montjuic mountain, near the sea. The neighborhood's name, "Marina del Prat Vermell," or the Red Meadow Marina, originates from the practice of dyeing and drying fabrics on the meadows. Now, this neighborhood represents the last public land development opportunities in the densely built city of Barcelona. Consequently, La Marina has become a strategic location for the city’s government to construct social housing units, such as the 72 units designed by MIAS Architects and Coll-Leclerc Arquitectos.

The plot, shaped like a triangle formed by the streets Ulldecona, Cal Cisó, and Pontils, influenced the architectural response. The design maintains the integrity of the triangular shape in its overall organization, without compromising the clarity and rationality of the orthogonal interior distribution of the dwellings. The three vertices of the plot are preserved as three closed corners, avoiding chamfers or simplifications.

To accommodate numerous social housing units, each with two rooms and optimal ventilation, solar exposure, typology, and views, the triangle is divided with two patios and two passages oriented from north to south, creating five volumes. The eastern and western corners house unique dwellings. Instead of using a layout with an interior triangular block courtyard, which would be too small and lead to an excess of north-facing dwellings, the proposal includes blocks of four corner dwellings, ensuring the two hours of solar exposure required by regulations between 10 am and 2 pm.

The perception of the complex varies depending on the viewpoint: from the eastern and western corners, it appears as a single unit block with gaps, while from the southern façade, five volumes are visible, allowing sunlight to penetrate through the passages at midday. This design avoids a continuous 92-meter façade and provides a smooth but intricate volume. The block's materialization or dematerialization changes based on the observer's position.

In summary, the building achieves a balance between being compact and porous. It is compact due to the triangle's geometry influencing its volumetrics, and porous due to the rationalized division into equivalent blocks. Each floor accommodates twelve residences, all featuring a corner layout, granting every unit dual orientation, ventilation, and complete solar exposure.

The material selection aims to minimize the building's carbon footprint by using lighter components and avoiding excavation in contaminated industrial soils. The facades feature alternating vertical strips of glass and ribbed GRC (fiber-reinforced concrete), red-colored and 17 mm thick, evoking the folds of fabrics drying on the meadow. Transported and positioned with their 120 mm metal frames, they are insulated on the inner face to ensure low thermal transmittance of 0.24 W/m2 K. The open corners have wide terraces that follow the envelope's geometry, protected by Gradhermetic louvers. The reinforced concrete structure uses a Bubble-Deck system, reducing the weight of the floor slabs by 35% and allowing the creation of cantilevers to adapt to the unique site geometry. The Bubble-Deck, composed of cylindrical bodies of recycled PVC, reduces weight and carbon footprint.

The project's shape factor, with openings designed to maximize solar gain in winter and provide shading and cross ventilation in summer on all floors, results in low total energy consumption of 8.76 kWh/m2 per year, achieving an A Rating and meeting Passivhaus standards with very low heating and cooling demands.

Ecoenergies' subway biomass network frees up the roof for the installation of a shared solar photovoltaic plant, consisting of 89 modules producing 37.8kWp, covering 51% of consumption. Vegetation is incorporated on the remaining roofs, and flowerbeds with red flowering species are planted along the access passages to promote biodiversity and mitigate the heat island effect. Additionally, bike racks are installed in these passages to encourage alternative mobility.

The importance of social housing in Barcelona cannot be overstated, especially in a city facing a deep housing crisis. With skyrocketing rents and limited space for new developments, many residents struggle to find affordable and adequate living conditions. In this context, the La Marina del Prat Vermell project emerges as a crucial intervention.

This project not only addresses the urgent need for affordable housing but does so with a forward-thinking design that enhances the quality of life for its residents. By integrating optimal conditions for ventilation, solar exposure, and dual orientation, the development ensures that each unit benefits from natural light and airflow, which are essential for healthy living environments. The use of sustainable materials and energy-efficient systems further underscores the project's commitment to environmental responsibility, reducing its carbon footprint and operational energy consumption.

Cornellà Social Housing

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Cornellà Social Housing

Mismatches Functional adequacy Diversity
Urban Design Environments Quality Liveability Inclusion
Promotion and production Public promotion Materials

Main objectives of the project

Peris+Toral Arquitectes won the competition to design a building for 85 social housing units in Cornellà de Llobregat, Barcelona. The project focuses on two main axes: the design of a matrix of spaces that eliminates corridors and maximises the use of floor space through communicating rooms, and the use of wood as the main material, which allows the industrialisation of the structure, improves the quality of the construction and reduces both execution times and CO2 emissions. In addition, the building is organised around a central courtyard that acts as a communal square, promoting interaction between neighbours and guaranteeing cross ventilation and double orientation in all the dwellings.

Date

  • 2021: Construction
  • 2017: Ganador

Stakeholders

  • Architect: Peris + Toral Arquitectes

Location

Continent: Europe
City: Cornellà de Llobregat
Country/Region: Barcelona, Spain

Description

In 2017, the Barcelona office Peris+Toral Arquitectes won the ideas competition organised by AMB (the metropolitan government of Barcelona) and promoted by the public entity IMPSOL to design a project for 85 social housing units on the site formerly occupied by the emblematic Pisa cinema in the municipality of Cornellà de Llobregat, Barcelona. This project consists of a five-storey detached residential building with a wooden structure resting on a reinforced concrete ground floor for commercial and public facilities uses.

In tackling this new multi-family construction, Peris+Toral Arquitectes has highlighted two strong points in its strategy: on one hand, the design of a matrix of spaces that eliminates corridors, both private and communal, proposing communicating rooms to maximise the use of floor space; on the other, the use of wood as the principal material, which permits industrialising the structure of the building, improving the quality of the construction and reducing both execution times and emissions thanks to a totally sustainable material.

For the 10,000 m² of floor space of the new building in Cornellà de Llobregat, which houses 85 social housing units distributed over five floors, 8,300 m² of km0 wood from the forests of the Basque Country have been used. The design with communicating rooms eliminates corridors to ensure maximum use of floor space, and the use of wood favours the industrialisation of the building, improves the quality of construction and significantly reduces construction times and CO2 emissions.

The building is organised around a courtyard that articulates a sequence of intermediate spaces. On the ground floor, a portico open to the city anticipates the entrance of the building and filters the relationship between the public space and the communal courtyard, which acts as a small square for the community. Instead of having direct and independent entrances from the exterior façade to each lobby, the four vertical communication cores are located at the four corners of the courtyard, so that all the neighbours meet and converge in the courtyard-plaza. On the standard floors, the dwellings are accessed through the private terraces that make up the crown of outdoor spaces overlooking the courtyard. The general floor plan of the building is organised in a matrix of communicating rooms, with 114 spaces per floor and 543 in total, of similar dimensions, eliminating private and communal corridors to make the most of the floor plan. The server spaces are located in the central ring, while the rest of the rooms of undifferentiated use and size, of approximately 13 m², are arranged on the façade, offering different ways of living.

Another terrace in the outer crown completes the spatial sequence, connecting the spaces by means of large openings permeable to air, view and passage. The 85 dwellings are distributed in four groupings with a total of 18 dwellings per floor. Four or five dwellings are arranged around the core, so that all the typologies have cross ventilation and double orientation. The dwellings consist of five or six modules, depending on whether they have two or three bedrooms. The open and inclusive kitchen is located in the central room, acting as a distributor that replaces corridors, makes domestic work visible and avoids gender roles.

The size of the rooms offers flexibility based on ambiguity of use and functional indeterminacy, and allows for an optimal structural bay for the timber structure. In order to achieve economic viability, the volume of timber required per m² of construction has been optimised to 0.24 m³ per m² of floor area in order to achieve social housing.

22@ Social Housing, Barcelona

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22@ Social Housing, Barcelona

Mismatches Services Vulnerable groups
Urban Design Quality Liveability
Promotion and production Public-private partnerships

Main objectives of the project

The NOU LLOC Foundation's project in Barcelona's Ensanche, located in the 22@ district, faces the challenge of providing social housing in an area marked by gentrification and rising property prices. This building of 53 small social housing units (55 m² on average) is located on a chamfered plot and stands out for its innovative design that maximises space by eliminating corridors and creating a large communal courtyard. The 22@ district, known for its transformation from a former industrial zone to a modern technological hub, has made access to housing difficult due to growing demand and high costs. This social housing project not only addresses the urgent need for affordable housing in Barcelona, but also seeks to integrate the community into a dynamic and constantly evolving urban environment, thus addressing the challenges of gentrification and social exclusion.

Date

  • 2015: Construction

Stakeholders

  • Architect: Serra-Vives-Cartagena

Location

Continent: Europe
City: Barcelona
Country/Region: Barcelona, Spain

Description

In Barcelona, at the beginning of the 20th century, the 22@ district was born. 22@ is an ambitious urban planning project in Barcelona that seeks to transform a former industrial area into a modern district of new technologies and knowledge. This renewal plan has boosted the creation of innovative and sustainable spaces, attracting technology companies, start-ups and research centres. However, this transformation has also generated a gentrification effect, driving up housing prices and displacing original residents. Access to housing in 22@ and Barcelona in general has become increasingly difficult, exacerbating the city's housing crisis and posing significant challenges for those seeking to reside in this booming area.

It is to address these challenges that the Serra-Vives-Cartagena building was born. The project, promoted by the social housing-oriented NOU LLOC Foundation, faces an atypical programme for a chamfered plot in the Eixample district of Barcelona: 53 small dwellings (55 m² on average) and the relevant commercial premises on the ground floor.

The plot has the particularity of having a party wall open to a newly created public space. This results in a pentagon with four open facades and a party wall. The chamfer faces north and the new façade opens to the south-east. The adjacent building forms part of a consolidated complex 28 metres deep with a façade of remarkable values.

The distribution scheme that resolves the bulk of the residential programme is summarised in two bands of different depths and opposite orientations, separated by a central courtyard and articulated by the block of vertical accesses located in the pre-existing party wall.

The greatest complexity of the project arises from the strip facing the Tánger-Ávila streets, which must respect the alignment of the chamfer, so characteristic of Barcelona's Ensanche, and maintain the precise urban continuity of 19th-century Barcelona.

Both strips are aligned with the façade and the pre-existing backdrop. Access to the different dwellings is via interior walkways that converge in the only vertical access block that benefits from the courtyards of the neighbouring building. This composition creates a large courtyard on the ground floor that opens onto calle Ávila, with the vocation of an interior communal square. The most characteristic element of the building's image is to be found in the vertical cut of the chamfer, which reflects the dialogue between the two bands and opens up the inner courtyard to the light from the north.

54 Social Housing units in Bon Pastor, Barcelona

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54 Social Housing units in Bon Pastor, Barcelona

Mismatches Location Diversity
Urban Design Modelos De Ciudad Environments Quality Liveability
Promotion and production Public promotion
Ownership and tenure Protection of social housing

Main objectives of the project

The Bon Pastor social housing project seeks to rehouse the former inhabitants of the ‘cheap houses’, the 1929 development of public housing. The project stands out for its careful integration with the existing urban fabric and its connection with the community. By preserving key elements of community life, such as shared courtyards and terraces facing the Besòs River, the design seeks to preserve the atmosphere of a village within the city. In addition, by incorporating intermediate spaces between public and private, social interaction is encouraged and the residents' sense of belonging to the neighbourhood is strengthened. This strategy not only modernises the infrastructure, but also revitalises Bon Pastor's identity as a place where the community thrives and is enriched.

Date

  • 2022: Construction

Stakeholders

  • Architect: Peris + Toral

Location

Continent: Europe
City: Barcelona
Country/Region: Barcelona, Spain

Description

The Bon Pastor neighbourhood, one of the first social housing areas in Barcelona in the 20th century, was built next to the river Besós in the eastern part of the city. Initially made up of what were known as ‘cheap houses’, small, low-rise single-family buildings, it lacked facilities and public transport. However, the insistence of the residents was fundamental in transforming it into a connected and dignified neighbourhood. The Bon Pastor Remodelling Plan envisages the demolition of the 784 Casas Baratas built in 1929, to be replaced by isolated blocks for the re-housing of the inhabitants. Despite this, the aim was to preserve the community life that characterised the neighbourhood, and this is where Peris Torral's project came into play.

The new building design, agreed with the residents, has advantages in terms of high-rise housing, offering panoramic views of the Besòs river, although sacrificing part of the community life at street level. To preserve this aspect, intermediate spaces are incorporated between the public space and the dwellings. For example, communal courtyards are introduced on the ground floor, before the entrance halls, in order to maintain the community spirit. In addition, generous terraces are included on the upper floors, facing the new riverside park. The single-storey car park was designed with natural ventilation and lighting, and is adaptable over time for other uses.

The block is composed of five aggregation units, four of which house two dwellings per landing, while the fifth unit, at the front, consists of three dwellings per floor in order to orientate the rooms towards the south and create a façade instead of a simple front wall. The arrangement of the bathroom core in the centre of the floor plan allows for articulated circulations around it, providing alternative paths and a sense of spaciousness. The use of exposed brickwork as a materiality determined by the planning is used to introduce lattices that texturise the plinth of the building and provide natural ventilation to the car park and stairwells. The metal balconies incorporate a structure that allows vegetation to grow, acting as a solar filter and supporting elements such as clotheslines and textiles.

The Bon Pastor remodelling project not only seeks to modernise its infrastructure, but also to preserve its essence and connection with its surroundings. By merging the typology of high-rise housing with communal spaces on the ground floor and terraces facing the Besòs River, a harmonious integration with the surrounding urban and natural landscape is achieved. This approach gives the neighbourhood a new category, transforming it into a contemporary urban enclave that preserves its character as a village within the city. By rescuing community life and promoting social interaction through its median spaces and public areas, the project embodies the spirit of Bon Pastor as a place where community flourishes and local identity is strengthened. Ultimately, this initiative not only modernises the neighbourhood's infrastructure, but also revitalises its soul, creating a space that celebrates its heritage while looking to the future.

Aid for first refusal and withdrawal and to social entities for social renting (Catalonia, Spain)

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Aid for first refusal and withdrawal and to social entities for social renting (Catalonia, Spain)

Mismatches Vulnerable groups
Policies and regulations National policies Regulation
Financing Public funding Supply subsidies

Main objectives of the project

The housing crisis in Catalonia has led to the implementation of strategies such as the right of first refusal, which allows the public administration to intervene in real estate transactions to ensure the availability of social housing. To overcome financial constraints, the Catalan Credit Institute offers financial aid to social entities and the administration to facilitate the direct purchase or exercise of this right. These measures seek to expand the social housing market and guarantee favorable conditions for tenants in the long term.

Date

  • 2018: Implementation

Stakeholders

  • Institut Català de Finances (ICF)

Location

Continent: Europe
City: Barcelona
Country/Region: Barcelona, Spain

Description

Catalonia, one of the territories most affected by housing market tensions, especially after the 2008 financial crisis, has faced a considerable challenge in this area. Following the collapse of the private market and the historic increase in rental prices, the Catalan authorities have implemented various strategies to ensure the availability of social housing for its citizens. Among these strategies is the right of first refusal and withdrawal, established in the 2007 Housing Law, as well as collaboration with civil society organizations.

The right of first refusal allows the public administration to intervene in real estate transactions between private parties, acquiring the property in lieu of a third party, either before or after the transaction, at the same price agreed upon by the private parties. However, the obligation to acquire at the same price may limit the financial capacity of many administrations to exercise this right. To address this limitation, the Catalan Credit Institute (ICF, in catalan) has launched a program of grants for pre-emptive rights of first refusal and withdrawal. In addition, the same aids are extended to third sector entities that collaborate with the administration in the direct purchase or in the first refusal for social housing.

These aids are designed to facilitate the direct purchase or the exercise of the right of first refusal by social entities and the public administration. In exchange, these entities may receive an amount ranging from €25,000 to €10 million, with a maximum of €90,000 per housing unit. However, the property acquired through these subsidies is of a temporary nature, limited to a term of 75 years for these entities. This period, considered sufficient to repay the loan, allows for investments in profitable housing. In addition, these homes are usually destined for social renting, offering below-market rates and favorable conditions for tenants. At the end of the 75-year period, the property becomes public property.

Both city councils and companies dedicated to the promotion of public housing can also access this aid under the same conditions as the entities. Thus, this measure aims to involve all relevant actors in the acquisition and use of all available legal resources to promote social housing, without being limited by economic constraints. Ultimately, this initiative has the potential to expand the social housing market both now and in the future.

Alerta desnonaments: Anti-eviction map, Barcelona

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Alerta desnonaments: Anti-eviction map, Barcelona

Policies and regulations Data and monitoring Evaluation and impact Evictions Participatory processes

Main objectives of the project

CMMM, a research initiative focused on practical applications, was established to empower civil society actors in their efforts towards creating fairer societies and cities through significant political change. Municipalist mobilizers, dedicated to reshaping power dynamics, continually innovate tools and methods. Critical mapping was given precedence within the project as it represents an "act of power," moving beyond mere theoretical discourse to offer diverse perspectives on realities, catalyzing shifts in narratives and discourse. Among their interactive maps spotlighting housing in European cities, the “Stop Evictions” map stands out. Using the historical data about evictions in the city of Barcelona, it helps putting toghther people to avoid them in the future.

Date

  • 2023: Implementation

Stakeholders

  • Observatori DESC
  • CMMM

Location

Continent: Europe
City: Barcelona
Country/Region: Barcelona, Spain

Description

Barcelona has long been a vibrant, politically charged city, where various movements and organizations converge and emerge. Following the downfall of the Franco dictatorship, urban struggles have become integral to the city's fabric, notably gaining momentum around the time of the 1992 Olympics and subsequent developments. The 1990s witnessed significant economic liberalization and deregulation, with a diminishing governmental role to accommodate capitalist investors. However, the financial crisis of 2008, stemming from the United States, catalyzed a housing crisis in Barcelona, reshaping social interventions and becoming a prominent concern for citizens.

The reforms mandated by the European Financial Stabilization Mechanism, later transitioning into the European Stability Mechanism, precipitated a shift in the housing emergency from mass foreclosures linked to mortgage defaults to a rental crisis between 2013 and 2015. Presently, approximately 40% of Barcelona's population are renters, far exceeding the Spanish average of 25%, exacerbating issues of affordability. Housing policies in Spain lag behind much of Europe, characterized by deteriorating buildings, particularly in the historic district due to intentional neglect. Moreover, soaring prices relative to income, scant social housing provision at only 1.6% of the total stock, and minimal tenant protections underscore the severity of the situation. The city's status as a premier European tourist destination further compounds the housing crisis, driving up demand for lodging and threatening locals' access to housing and a non-commercialized neighborhood life.

The CMMM Barcelona team is affiliated with Observatori DESC, a hybrid human rights organization fostering collaboration between urban social movements, the city administration, and academia, focuses on advocating for progressive laws and policies. Within their scope of work on the right to the city, Observatori DESC prioritizes ensuring the social use of housing as a prerequisite for dignified living. Their advocacy encompasses initiatives to increase public and affordable housing, implement innovative, rights-based social policies to combat evictions, and address abuses by large landlords, such as expulsions and harassment. At the legislative and judicial levels, efforts are concentrated on curbing exorbitant housing costs through measures like rent controls and outlawing entities like Desokupa, which employ intimidation tactics during evictions.

In the context of the CMMM project, Observatori DESC collaborated with housing organizations and movements to explore the application of critical mapping in documenting, mobilizing, and advocating for changes in housing discourses. Specifically, they investigated methods to delineate and document eviction occurrences and organize resistance against them. The "Stop Eviction" maps provide crucial insights. Firstly, they detail interventions by civil society anti-eviction organizations during evictions between 2016 and 2022, identifying involved property owners and outcomes. This sheds light on the principal actors in eviction processes and organizational resistance efforts. Secondly, impending evictions are mapped out, empowering individuals to preemptively act against them.

Both maps serve as invaluable tools in addressing Barcelona's housing crisis, offering insights into landlord behaviors and guiding efforts to support tenants. They facilitate a better understanding of eviction dynamics and avenues for community engagement.

Metropolitan Housing Observatory, Barcelona (O-HB)

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Metropolitan Housing Observatory, Barcelona (O-HB)

Policies and regulations National policies Local policies Governance Data and monitoring Evaluation and impact

Main objectives of the project

The Metropolitan Housing Observatory of Barcelona (O-HB) is a supra-municipal entity dedicated to researching and analyzing housing-related data with the aim of supporting the design and evaluation of public policies in this area. It emerged in 2017 as a collaboration between the Barcelona City Council, the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona (AMB), the Barcelona Provincial Council and the Generalitat de Catalunya, with the support of the Association of Social Housing Managers (GHS).

Date

  • 2017: Implementation

Stakeholders

  • Barcelona City Council
  • AMB (Metropolitan Government)
  • Diputació de Barcelona
  • Generalitat de Catalunya

Location

Continent: Europe
City: Barcelona
Country/Region: Barcelona, Spain

Description

Barcelona is experiencing an unprecedented housing crisis. Rents have skyrocketed and housing prices are unaffordable for the majority of the population. Despite this, housing data were fragmented among different administrations, were not transparent and unclear. For this reason, the City Council promoted a metropolitan observatory that could systematize the data to provide clear information on how to act in the face of the crisis. To this end, the Generalitat (the national government), the Diputació provincial (the region), the metropolitan government and the City Council, as well as civil society, with the Association of Social Housing Managers, came to an agreement. Together they made possible the Metropolitan Housing Observatory (O-HB).

Thus, the Observatory gives an open data system since its creation. The data is structured in six chapters: housing stock; construction and rehabilitation; socio-demographic and socio-economic aspects; housing and land market; problems of permanence, access and maintenance; and public policies. From these open data, all the administrations share their information and citizens, researchers and social agents can also have an impact on them.

In addition, the observatory carries out its own studies and annual reports on the state of housing. In fact, when a regulation of rental prices was made, the Observatory was in charge of evaluating it from different methodologies. As a democratic instrument at the service of housing, it also organizes debates and lectures with specialists on a regular basis.

In short, the Observatory acts as a scientific tool at the service of citizens, researchers and administrations. For the first time, it systematizes data on the current housing crisis, debates the main policies and evaluates the programs that affect affordable housing. An open laboratory and a critical space to guide the future of a Barcelona where its inhabitants can live.

Links

Habitatge Metròpolis (HMB), Barcelona

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Habitatge Metròpolis (HMB), Barcelona

Policies and regulations Local policies Global frameworks Governance Public-private initiatives
Financing Public funding Public-private collaboration
Promotion and production Public-private partnerships
Ownership and tenure Protection of social housing Public-private partnerships

Main objectives of the project

Habitatge Metròplis is the metropolitan operator for the promotion of public housing. A mixed public-private company that seeks to build social housing in a profitable way for the private company. Its greatest advantages are 1) the innovative governance it assumes and 2) its metropolitan dimension.

Date

  • 2019: Implementation

Stakeholders

  • Promotor: Barcelona City Council
  • Promotor: Metropolitan Area of Barcleona (AMB)
  • Promotor: Neinor Homes, S.A

Location

Continent: Europe
City: Barcelona
Country/Region: Barcelona, Spain

Description

Barcelona is facing the biggest housing crisis in recent years. In the capital and its metropolitan area, rents are much higher than in the rest of the country. This is causing applications for social housing to skyrocket. Despite this, the number of social housing units in Barcelona is well below the European average and is falling. This is due to the fact that for years, social housing was under ownership regime. That is, after a few years it ceases to be protected and goes to the free market. Thus, there is a need to build social housing quickly and in large quantities.

Unfortunately, the administration alone could not cope with the great demand. That is why they have decided to promote a metropolitan operator. That is to say, they have created a mixed company, between the public and private sectors, to promote social housing for the metropolitan area of Barcelona. The goal is to build 4500 homes in 6 years, 50% within the city of Barcelona and 50% in the metropolitan area. The shareholders of the company are the AMB (25%), the Barcelona City Council (25%), the company NICRENT Residencial (50%), of which Neinor Homes, S.A. and CEVASA are 50% shareholders. The balance between public and private partners and the relationship of equality, co-responsibility and long-term trust is the basis for sharing investment efforts, risks, costs and benefits. This formula guarantees the social goals of the project and its economic success, taking into account the technical capabilities and economic solvency of the participating partners.

Unlike in the past, all the housing will be for subsidized rental at below-market prices and will always be publicly owned. In this way, the land will remain under social housing protection, despite the passage of time. With regard to construction, the operator must guarantee environmental quality and sustainability with energy saving criteria and promote accessibility and architectural quality.

It is the first company of its kind to have a metropolitan dimension in Spain. In fact, Spain has a high deficit of metropolitan housing policies. A study has detected 384 institutions operating in Spain's metropolitan environments. Of these, only about 30 deal directly or indirectly with the issue of housing, despite being one of the main problems of Spanish cities (1). Thus, the operator is innovative because it assumes, for the first time, that housing does not have a municipal dimension, but goes beyond its limits. In this way, its metropolitan approach is vital for developing a joint housing policy among the 36 municipalities that make up the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona.

(1) To see more into: Tomàs, M. (2023). Metrópolis sin gobierno. La anomalía española en Europa. Ed. Tirant lo Blanch.

Links

Cireres

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Cireres

Mismatches Financing Functional adequacy Services Cultural suitability Diversity Climate change
Policies and regulations Local policies Land Public-private initiatives
Financing Financial actors
Urban Design Environments Quality Liveability
Promotion and production Public-private partnerships Participatory processes Self-management Self-promotion Cooperatives
Ownership and tenure Shared ownership Protection of social housing Land ownership

Main objectives of the project

Cireres is a housing project whose goal is to build a cooperative housing that avoids speculation and the market dynamics. Thanks to a leasing of public land, a group of people in search of affordable housing could form a community with sustainable and top-tier housing units.

Date

  • 2022: Ganador
  • 2022: Construction
  • 2017: En proceso

Stakeholders

  • Promotor: SostreCivic (Coopertaiva Cireres)
  • Promotor: Barcelona City Hall
  • Constructor: La Constructiva
  • Architect: CelObert
  • Matriu
  • Col·lectiu Ronda
  • Fiare
  • Arç

Location

Continent: Europe
City: Barcelona
Country/Region: Barcelona, Spain

Description

Cireres is located in Roquetes, a popular neighborhood of Barcelona, with significant levels of vulnerability. This neighborhood has undergone considerable urban improvement since the 1990s. Originally, it was formed as a neighborhood of informal housing. Over the years, these dwellings have been integrated into the urban fabric and living conditions have improved. Today, the neighborhood faces new challenges. Mainly, housing speculation has entered fully into the daily life of the neighbors. For this reason, an investment in social housing is necessary. However, social housing is often expensive for the administration and has no roots in the neighborhood.

Cireres wants to solve the above problems. The project follows the logic of cooperative housing in lease of use. The public administration leases a municipal lot to a cooperative for a long period of time. In exchange, the cooperative builds the building and its members have the right to use the housing. In this way, the municipality does not lose public land for affordable housing. On the other hand, tenants have secure tenure and are part of a larger community integrated into the neighborhood, with the agency to build and decide on their project. To move in, each cohabitation unit has had to make an initial returnable capital contribution and then monthly payments, including services and utilities, which are below city rents.

Cireres also goes a step further. The objective is to generate a community that can build the entire project and live thereafter from the social and solidarity economy, not linked to the speculative market. Thus, the financing comes from Fiare, an ethical bank. The insurance company, the construction company, the management company... and all the agents involved are non-profit cooperatives. In this way, the value of use is put in front of the value of exchange, demonstrating another way to build affordable housing. In addition, the project includes a social economat, a working cooperative of residents dedicated to the trade of agro-ecological products.

The community life of Cireres is structured in an assembly, linked to the realities of the neighborhood and the residents. Its 32 dwellings are organized around common spaces. Thus, the idea is to be a single house, erasing the distance between the public and the private, integrating community life in the residence. For example, the houses are structured around a landing where neighbors can go out to hang the laundry, play... There are also communal indoor spaces. The communal project has an ideology that everyone must respect, the framework from which the activities, complicities and constructions of relationships, group and building are developed.

The site is a plot of 428 m2 located in the street Pla dels Cirerers, 2-4, We wanted to have shared spaces of quality, which allow to release functions of the interior of the private spaces to give them to the community, so 190m2 of buildability of the site are no longer exhausted by the commitment to make community spaces. We have built reduced private living spaces (50 m2 on average), which are compensated by 771 m2 of space for community use. The material used in Cirerers is mainly wood, and also lime mortar on the facades and plasterboard in the interiors. All of them are biodegradable materials with a low ecological footprint, since their production, transport and recycling involve very low CO2 emissions.

The building has won several awards: Advanced Architecture Awards 2022 in the Sustainability category - REBUILD, European Social Innovation Competition (EUSIC) and finalist of the MINI Design Awards 2022 - Madrid Design Festival.