The FWD: Test Your International Housing Knowledge

This month, in anticipation of xChats: Affordable Housing Beyond Our Borders on May 26th, The FWD will be focusing on housing innovations from across the globe.

The FWD #150 • 349 Words

Are you a housing globetrotter? Here are three facts from around the world that you should know.

One principle of leadership development is to know what you don’t know. Those of us in the affordable housing sector have been pretty smart about paying attention to innovation in our field. In fact, HousingForward Virginia has dedicated a series of events, HousingX, to see what’s coming in design and technology. But when it comes to understanding what’s happening with affordable housing in other parts of the world, we’re a bit out of touch.

Here’s a simple quiz to test your knowledge:

Q: In what European capital do 80% of residents rent their homes?

A: Vienna, Austria has kept much of its housing affordable for the past century through city ownership of much of its land. Austria uses “supply side” subsidies mainly through Limited Profit Housing Associations (LPHA) to produce primarily higher density apartments. Over 80% of Vienna’s residents are renters and half of them pay a “social rent” that is kept affordable by the LPHA landlord.

Q: What city-state has 80% of its population in public housing, but 95% of them are owners?

A: Singapore is an urban country with 6 million residents. When it gained independence in 1965, it enacted the Land Acquisition Act, modeled on a UK program. With the ability to acquire land at reasonable prices, the government has developed and owns the land under 80% of the nation’s housing. But in a shift from the European model, 95% of the public housing residents in Singapore are now owners.

Q: Cooperatives make up 25% of all homes in what major European city?  

A: Zurich, Switzerland is one of the most expensive cities in the world. Massive wealth inequality has encouraged innovative strategies in housing affordability. There are 141 cooperative associations that operate over 40,000 residential homes in the city, where over 90% of residents are renters—the highest rate in Europe.  

If you didn’t get any correct answers, you definitely need to join us for our international HousingX event on May 26th, xChats: Affordable Housing Beyond our Borders.

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