We are sorry to inform that due to security reasons, the 4th Affordable Housing Forum at University Rovira i Virgili has been cancelled.

If you have any query, please, contact office.housing@urv.cat 


4th Affordable Housing Forum 

“Strategies towards inclusive cities”

Tarragona, Spain, 17th and 18th October 2019


Directors: Prof. Sergio Nasarre-Aznar and Dr. Estela Rivas-Nieto

Scientific Committee: Dr. Marie Glaser, Dr. Magdalena Gorczynska, Dr. Zsofia Glatz, Dr. Héctor Simón-Moreno and Dr. Rosa Maria Garcia-Teruel

Venue: University Rovira i Virgili. Av. Catalunya, 35, 43002, Tarragona, Spain.

Website & registration: https://housing.urv.cat/4th-affordable-housing-forum/  

Office and further queries: office.housing@urv.cat 

A) Presentation

The 4th Affordable Housing Forum is an international and interdisciplinary symposium organised by the UNESCO Housing Chair of the University Rovira i Virgili in Tarragona (Spain) and the ETH Wohnforum Centre for Research on Architecture, Society and the Built Environment, Zurich Switzerland.

Imagine a world where cities are open for everybody, where all members of the society – regardless of their colour, religion, gender, physical or mental abilities – are welcome, safe and their voices are heard. In inclusive cities, everybody has access to adequate, safe and affordable housing; to sustainable transport systems; and to safe, inclusive and accessible, green and public spaces. The cities of the future enhance inclusive and sustainable urbanization and capacity for participatory, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management. The cities of the future will adopt and implement integrated policies and plans towards inclusion, resource efficiency, mitigation and adaptation to climate change and resilience to disasters. Cities of today are relevant civic formations taking on responsibility – they form platforms of taking action, like e.g. Barcelona, New York or Berlin (text based on the SDG 11, defined by UN).

From the perspectives of urban inclusivity and resilience, the Affordable Housing Forum 2019 in Spain focuses on housing, affordability and inclusion. The AFH 2019 aspires to contribute in defining relevant housing related tools, practices and models that support the sustainable transformation of our cities. 

Housing was always far more than a question of just a roof over one’s head. Strictly speaking it is a matter of creating a place where one has a sense of well-being and acceptance and feels at home. Well thought out public and semi-public spaces which invite social interaction are of great importance for the feeling of homeliness. Living together in cities needs also an urban structural planning framework. Just as it is always a question of structure and not only urban design, of urbanity and not only appearance, in housing it is always about everyday integrative suitability for the people. 

Whereas the dominant ownership model is in the majority of countries widespread, alternative models of organizing and financing housing and inclusion (shared ownership, co-housing, etc.) are still sparsely promoted, nor systematically studied. It is the high interest of the ETH Centre for Research on Architecture, Society & the built Environment and of the UNESCO Housing Chair URV to explore more in the conceptual and practical discussion of housing policies and measures towards inclusion and against segregation, towards organizational as well as social integrative models of affordable housing. They may be historical or contemporary ones, state-subsidized, market-led, or not-for-profit oriented, bottom up or top down models. 

The 4th Affordable Housing Symposium aims to bring together junior and senior researchers, educators and practitioners in the field of housing to open the debate and help inspire change. We welcome researchers and practitioners from many fields including urban design and planning, landscape and ecology, geography, social sciences, engineering and other fields related to spatial studies to present their work.

B) Program

Thursday 17th October 2019

12:30. Registration and lunch

14:00. Welcome speech by the Chancellor of the University, Prof. Mª José Figueras and of the Housing Director of the Housing Agency of the Catalan Government, Dr. Judith Gifreu.

14:30. Panel 01: UN Challenge for inclusive cities – current problems and new approaches for urban inclusivity and housing affordability in Europe

After 10 years of housing crisis in Europe, the exclusivity and the current spatial, economic and social segregation of cities are alarming. New strategies are needed to develop welcoming and inclusive urban structures where different stakeholder groups are included in the short- and long-term developments. What are the specific burdens of such participative practices, what new approaches can lead towards urban affordability and inclusivity? How can the Sustainable Development Goals be implemented in inclusive urban strategies?

16:00. Coffee-break

16:30. Panel 02: Affordable and inclusive housing best practices in Europe

New models of housing tenures, collaborative housing developments, participative approaches, new financial instruments are just a few keywords from the pool of possible best practice solutions in housing that tackle inclusive and affordable housing developments. In this section, we welcome abstracts showing functioning, implemented best practice models along the above key words.

18:30. Debate

20 h. Conference dinner. Restaurant “El Racó del Abat” (Optional: 25 euros)

Friday 18th October 2019

9:30. Panel 03: Inclusive urban design – design approaches and methodologies towards inclusivity and affordability

What can design contribute to developing affordable and inclusive structures, on the housing-, urban- and landscape level. What new design approaches, tools (physical and theoretical) and methodologies are available for practitioners? In this panel we are particularly looking forward to abstracts tackling the above issues, studying new DESIGN approaches, tools and methods. 

11 h. Coffee-break

11:30. Panel 04: Digital transformation in housing – its impact on affordability and social connections

How can technology lead to affordability and inclusion in terms of housing? Smart apartments, smart neighbourhoods (e.g. sharing online platforms), online applications (rate your landlord), BIM construction practices. Are they generating affordable housing, are they reducing costs and is it sensible at the user-end? Does digital interface exclude households, that have no access to specific digital devices and/or internet? This panel welcomes abstracts answering (not exclusively) the above questions.

13 h. Debate

13:30 h. Lunch

14 h. Fieldtrip. Visiting affordable housing

17 h. End of conference

C) Call for papers

Papers are welcome to be presented during the four panels sessions in the symposium and related to their respective topics. Each presenter should send an abstract of about 350 words by 15th July 2019 8th September 2019 (by midnight CET) to the coordinator of the workshop she wants to submit the paper. Names and e-mail addresses of each coordinator are:

Panel 01: UN Challenge for inclusive cities – current problems and new approaches for urban inclusivity and housing affordability in Europe. Coordinator: Dr. Héctor Simón-Moreno (hector.simon@urv.cat).

Panel 02: Affordable and inclusive housing best practices in Europe: Coordinator: Núria Lambea (nuria.lambea@urv.cat) .

Panel 03: Inclusive urban design – design approaches and methodologies towards inclusivity and affordability. Coordinator: Gemma Caballé-Fabra (gemma.caballe@urv.cat). 

Panel 04: Digital transformation in housing – its impact on affordability and social connections. Coordinator: Dr. Rosa Maria Garcia-Teruel (rosamaria.garciat@urv.cat). 

Authors of accepted abstracts will be invited to submit their presentation, poster and/or their full papers of 3,000 words. The submission of full papers is not obligatory. Accepted abstracts can be presented on the symposium in form of a poster or a presentation. Although, we highly recommend the submission of full papers, as the best will be published online. All the accepted abstracts will be published in the symposium Proceedings.

D) Key dates

Publication of Preliminary Program and of Call for Papers: June 14th

Deadline for Abstracts: July 15th! Extended until 8th September 2019

Abstract acceptance notification: August 1st. For new deadline, 15th September

Publication of Proceedings and Final program: September 30th 

Registration: October 10th

Conference: October 17-18th

E) Registration

To register, please send an e-mail to office.housing@urv.cat indicating at least, your name and institution. Registration for the conference is open until 10th October.

Conference general fee is €100(*), which includes conference materials, the coffee-break and the lunches. PhD students and Early Career Investigators (up to 4 years from their PhD) are allowed to a disccount of 50% in the fee.

The registration fee is to be paid to the following current account of the University Rovira i Virgili in Spain: IBAN: ES9601826035450201605723; SWIFT:BBVAESMM. An evidence of the payment is to be sent as well to office.housing@urv.cat.

F) Certificates

Certificates will be issued both for attendance and papers’ presentation.

G) About the UNESCO Housing Chair at URV 

The UNESCO Housing Chair of the University Rovira i Virgili (Spain) is the single Housing Research Centre in Spain with an international and interdisciplinary approach. It is a division of the Public University Rovira i Virgili, which ranks 4th among all Spanish Universities and 83 in the world among universities under 50 years (Times Higher Education).

The creation of the Chair was announced at the European Network for Housing Research 25th International Conference in June 2013, although some of its researchers have been dealing with housing research for the last 23 years. Seven PhD candidates and twelve senior researchers are currently working at the Chair, which main objectives are specialized research, teaching and transfer of knowledge in the field of housing. 

Since June 2013, the Chair members have published 152 research works in 14 countries and have delivered 290 speeches in 30 more. The Chair has been also invited to draft five pieces of legislation for the Spanish and the Catalan governments, while has been a team member of 4 EU-funded projects (EU Parliament and EU Commission). In addition to this, the Chair is currently working at ten national and international funded research projects and has successfully finished other seventeen. The Housing Chair has the explicit support of 11 private and public partners. It runs two postgraduate courses on mediation and on real estate agents. 

Researchers of the Chair are constantly present in the media to disseminate the results of their research topics, which cover many fields of housing, such as housing access, housing tenures, housing as a fundamental right, and management of social housing, real estate agents and tenancies. 

Researchers and stakeholders can follow the Chair activities at its webpage (https://housing.urv.cat/en/cover/) and through its Newsletter (https://housing.urv.cat/en/cover/research/newsletter/).

H) The Affordable Housing Forum 

The Affordable Housing Forum has been created at ETH Wohnforum – ETH CASE in Zurich in 2016 in order to support the New Urban Agenda and its housing at the centre focus by gathering and organizing expertise on affordable housing in Europe. Special emphasis is put on the specific housing challenge of former East European Countries (EEC), as well as cross-sector knowledge exchange. Four research axes are proposed to bring together various experienced and young actors from research, the professional field and the government:

The 4P of AHF stand for people, practices, provision and policy. In order to advance our understanding of affordable housing, more insights are needed (i) on the ways people use and appropriate housing and their aspirations; on (ii) actually implemented housing projects and actual housing projects.

I) UN Urban October


Seminar belonging to the World Urban October campaign of UN-Habitat, United Nations Human Settlements Program.


J) 4th TENLAW Follow-up Conference

We welcome all usual attendants of TENLAW Follow-up conferences. After the first TENLAW Follow-up conference in 2016, which we hosted, the second one (2017) that took place in Gröningen and the third one (2018) which took place in Malta, we are glad to welcome TENLAW researchers to the 4th one, which will be integrated in the Forum. A special deadline for abstract submission is applied to these researchers: 23rd September 2019.

K) The venue. About Tarragona

According to Lonely Planet, Tarragona is a “effervescent port city, Roman history collides with beaches, nightlife and a food scene that perfumes the air with freshly grilled seafood. The biggest lure is the wealth of ruins in Spain’s second most important Roman site, including mosaic-packed museums and a seaside amphitheater. A roll-call of excellent places to eat gives you good reason to linger in the knot of lanes in the medieval center, flanked by a broad cathedral with Gothic flourishes. Tarragona is also a gateway to the Costa Daurada’s sparkling beaches and the feast of Modernism architecture in nearby Reus”.

For more info, visit http://www.tarragonaturisme.cat/en 

L) Other useful information

a) Dedicated wi-fi network:

– name: 4AHFSTIC

– password: urv18OCT2019

b) Taxis: +34-977100002 ; +34-686760114



L) With the collaboration of..