‘A social housing project without amenities is not social at all’ keynote by Ilka Ruby

The keynote speaker Ilka Ruby a Berlin based publisher and curator on subjects regarding architecture and urbanism delivered a morning speech.  She focused on different social housing projects from around Europe, America and Asia.  You can find here website here-

Mrs. Ruby gave several examples of social housing ghettos in Berlin, France and Sweden that caused a great deal of social unrest.  She told us that many of the times cities would simply demolish the housing projects to deal with problems.  However; these demolition programs were a launching program for French architects Druot, Lacaton to try renovating and improving these sites instead of tearing down buildings.  One example is Tour Bois Le Pretre in Paris.  The architects changed the façade of the building and softened the building with balconies and more public spaces.  A similar project in Bordeaux took place and completely transformed a 500 unit building.

The speaker went on to tell us that many of the issues that started within social housing begin because a project did not consider the extra needs of people.  That includes shopping, groceries, green space, meeting spaces and education/employment opportunities.  In her estimation, a social housing project without amenities is not social at all.

Mrs. Ruby argued throughout her presentation that because affordable housing is scare and expensive, conventional modern housing development is not keeping up with and meeting demands.  She told the audience that the reaction to these issues have been a revolution in contemporary architecture towards collective building and living.

Featured picture: © Elodie Burrillon | http://hucopix.com

Author: jcrites

Josh Crites is an American social housing professional with both practical and research experience. He has worked at 3 social housing companies in the USA in roles ranging from policy and operations to process improvement and strategy. Josh is a former Alexander von Humboldt German Chancellor Fellow. During that fellowship, Josh researched and worked with social housing companies in Germany, The Netherlands, Portugal, Scotland, England, Estonia and Spain. He is an avid writer and advocate for the provision of social housing around the world.

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