Norman Foster Foundation Cities: Affordable Housing Workshop 2022

Maria Vassilakou during her seminar at the Norman Foster Foundation’s library Page 32 Maria Vassilakou opened her seminar with a summary of her goals as Vice Mayor of Vienna and how her vision always tried to look at the role of social housing in the creation of a city. Vassilakou explained that Vienna is rapidly growing and that each year they have the challenge to accommodate a population of around twenty thousand in the city. She emphasised then, that this challenge does not only include the creation of affordable housing, but also all the infrastructure needed for life, such as schools, hospitals, among other services. Vassilakou explained how the city wanted to tackle the issue of affordable housing from an urban quarters perspective, using housing strategies to develop a city that is ‘a place for life’. According to her, this way of thinking has been inherited through 100 years of housing tradition in Vienna. After World War I, the government of Vienna took on one of the most ambitious plans on housing provision, putting an emphasis in providing good life quality through the implementation of open and green spaces, communal areas, libraries and services, among other facilities directed towards modern working families. Presenting various examples, Vassilakou showed how in the masterplan of Vienna, affordable housing is at the centre of the city so that they do not have excluded communities. Vassilakou closed her seminar by enumerating the three pillars of the Vienna strategy: local land, subsidised construction and subsidised individuals that can afford the housing. The Former Vice Mayor stated that the philosophy around social housing should always have a focus on green spaces, promoting walking and cycling over vehicles with collective parking on the edges, broad social and use mix, transport access and collaborative housing projects. As a closing reflection, she identified publicprivate involvement, having a clear idea of the city that you want, strong leadership, legal tools, affordability, liveability and community involvement as key factors to their model’s success. The Vienna Story: A Century of Social Housing Tradition in the World’s N1 Maria Vassilakou 2022 Cities: Affordable Housing Workshop Contents Report