^HousingFutures’ 2017: Migration

This week we will look back on ^HousingFutures’ articles of 2017. One of our main topics was migration, here is our retrospective.

The difference between the Global North (or better: ‘the West’) and the Global South remains incredibly big. While in the Global North countries are relatively stable, people are relatively rich and healthy and communities are ageing and shrinking, the Global South is reverse in everything. The Global South is unstable, poor, unhealthy and yet multiplying in population.


A illustration of the South’s instability is given in our article on housing in Venezuela, and a glimpse of the incredible demand for housing is given in our article on housing in the Middle East and Africa.


Meanwhile the ‘North’ and ‘South’ are more connected than ever. Globalization has turned the world’s economies in one single marketplace. Goods and information flows freely from the one continent to the other. No surprise that people as well try to move from the South to the North. This regardless of the creation of big beautiful walls or deals with countries with a lousy reputation to take migrants back. Migration is THE theme of the 21st century. And because housing is a primal need, it is one of the most important themes for housing providers as well.

In the past years we have seen many countries struggling with migrants. When the influx of migrants grew exponentially, authorities turned vacant office buildings, prisons and sports halls into temporary refugee accommodation. At the International Social Housing Festival, some activists argued that accommodation refugees in former prisons is inhumane. Humane or not, we listed this strategy as one of the creative ideas for refugee housing, along with 4 others.


A slightly different angle on migration was given by Canadian journalist Doug Saunders, who was keynote speaker at the ISHF. Saunders regards migration to cities as the biggest migration flow of our time, as a direct result of  the major economic shift from a farmers to a industrial and post-industrial economy. People lose their source of income in the countryside and move to cities for a better job.

The question is: how to make these ‘arrivals’ successful? Saunders shared how municipalities and housing providers can help them in becoming successful in the city. Also at the ISHF, a collective of researchers shared their findings on how cities can cope with migration.

We expect migration integration to stay one of the biggest societal challenges in cities all over the world. Do you have an interesting story to share with us? Don’t hesitate to approach us! info@housing-futures.org

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s