3 Final Thoughts: My Time At the ISHF

After spending four days at the International Social Housing Festival, I am taking my leave and headed on holidays. I leave fully motivated and energized by my colleagues from around the world.  I thought I would take a few minutes as I sit at the airport and write a few notes as they are fresh in my head.

I am thinking of the three main themes of the festival which were (1). Immigration and Migration, (2). Diversity of tenant needs and (3) Segregation and inequality.   I believe within the four days I heard and learned of a great number of ideas and programs to work towards long-term solutions for all of these international problems.  I also think that this festival could play a larger role in the future than maybe even the organizers had thought.  I leave you with these final thoughts:

  1. This Was a Really Good Idea, Lets Do It Again: The first thing that comes to mind is how wonderful an event it was.  The high level of coordination and hard work showed.  The themes helped put form to the entire festival and the various conferences I attended within the festival were informative and put together very well.  The idea of an International Social Housing Festival needs to carry on!
  2. Create an International Platform: There is Housing Europe  and within it the Observatory on Housing, there is the European Network for Housing Research, The Chartered Institute of Housing, the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials, The Australasian Housing Institute and countless other great platforms in dozens of languages that deal with social housing.  However; is there an institution or organization that can pull this together?  Do we have a platform that all of these dozens of housing organizations, think tanks, universities and websites can feed into?  Maybe the International Social Housing Festival’s legacy could be to envision how a platform could be built
  3. Higher Participation from non-European Countries:  It makes sense that the first ever International Social Housing Festival took place in the Netherlands.  I think many come to the Netherlands looking to learn because of the strong history and practices of innovation.  As we move into the future, we should think how we can pull in other countries like Australia, New Zealand, Asian Countries like Japan and India.  Can we get housing agencies from Africa to attend?  I know I will do my part next time to ensure higher participation from the USA.  We are all in this fight together and although we might be facing different challenges within our countries, we all aim to improve housing conditions in some way, shape or form.  The more participation the more we can strengthen the social housing industry from an international perspective.

I hope to maintain contact with those I met to the best degree possible in our busy life.  I also wish the best to the rest of the presenters and participants who will attend the next several days of events.

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