“A Europe-wide standardized survey on the living and housing conditions in Europe’s cities is urgently required”, says Karin Zauner-Lohmeyer, spokeswoman of the European Citizens’ Initiative “Housing for All”.
Housing markets in Europe’s growing cities are under pressure, like in Paris, Berlin, Barcelona, München, Amsterdam etc. Due to speculation and the fact, that the housing demand is far higher than the supply, prices for land and housing are skyrocketing. Additionally, there is a lack of public investments in social housing. As a result, housing has become too expensive for many citizens. This development threatens social cohesion in Europe.
Data gap on housing in Europe’s cities
Being the mayor of such a growing European metropole with a dramatic housing shortage, what would you do? Probably you would try to increase the social and affordable housing stock for your citizens. Right? Doing so, you would need data on the housing market in your, and you would need these data urgently. These data are the only way enabling to identify the concrete local challenges. But on this stage things would become pretty difficult for you. You would stand alone with so many questions, such as:
- What are the housing needs of the citizens? What about their disposable income?
- What are the current housing costs for different income groups? How are they developing?
- How many citizens are overburdened by housing costs?
- How are the land prices developing?
- What about the housing conditions, the housing quality? How many people are living in an overcrowded household?
- How many citizens (in which tenure and income group) are affected by energy poverty?
The key-question remains: Where do we get the data about the housing situation in Europe’s cities?
Change the European Statistic Programme
It’s a matter of fact that you as a mayor wouldn’t get any reasonable data from EUROSTAT (European Statistical Office) because EUROSTAT does not collect these local data and figures, and is thus not able providing any data for your city. EUROSTAT provides data on national level only, which means that they could tell you the average rent in France, Spain etc. Probably this wouldn’t help you, since data on national level would not make sense for developing local housing policy.
“Any discussion on housing policies and urban development would be totally different, if based on empirical, scientific data collected from a local level”, stresses Karin Zauner-Lohmeyer, spokeswoman of the European Citizens’ Initiative “Housing for All”. “Therefore our initiative urges European legislators to provide a standardized Europe-wide survey on the living and housing conditions on local level. This measure is the only way to enable local authorities finding decisions, which are based on solid facts and thus transparent – that’s the only way to improve housing policy in cities and regions.”