08-12-2020

2020 World Habitat Awards—the winners

AKAH Pakistan, Mitchell van-Eijk, Christopher Wilton-Steer,

Newcastle upon Tyne, UK,

Event, World Habitat Awards,

The winners of the 2020 World Habitat Awards, the world’s leading housing awards organised by World Habitat in partnership with UN-Habitat include, in the Gold category, a homelessness prevention initiative in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, and an approach to integrate disaster risk management into habitat planning and development in remote areas of Pakistan.



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2020 World Habitat Awards—the winners World Habitat is an independent charity whose origins can be traced back to 1946. In 1976, the Building and Social Housing Foundation (BSHF) was established to help ensure people everywhere have a safe, secure and sustainable place to live. To provide greater clarity about their purpose and mission, in November 2017 they changed their name from BSHF to World Habitat. The World Habitat Awards were established in 1985 and from the very beginning, the focus has been not only on the identification of good housing practices but also in the sharing of knowledge and experience to others who can transfer them in their own situations. Starting last year, World Habitat present Gold, Silver and Bronze awards. 
The winners of the two Gold Awards for 2020 are Integrating indigenous knowledge and technology for a safer habitat, in Pakistan and homelessness prevention in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK. The partnership approach of Newcastle City Council has prevented over 24,000 households from becoming homeless since 2014. Poverty and deprivation were already long-standing issues in the city before a decade-long programme of austerity reduced municipal budgets by almost a third, and welfare spending was severely cut. Now, more than 100 local organisations have worked together to address issues that can contribute to homelessness, such as debt and access to welfare support - to increase residents’ income and reduce their expenditure where possible.
While, in Pakistan, the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat, Pakistan (AKAH Pakistan) is working with geologists to integrate indigenous knowledge and technology for a safer habitat. They use satellite images and risk-mapping tools, with participation from residents (who contribute local knowledge and receive training on the process), to establish residential and economic zones, and develop disaster management plans. To date, they provided more than 20,000 households with technical assistance and trained over 50,000 volunteers in community-based disaster risk management. 
In addition to the two Gold award winners, World Habitat also presented two Silver Awards. In Nepal, the Compressed Earth Bricks and Community Enterprises initiative enables local entrepreneurs to build eco-friendly homes and create sustainable micro-enterprises in communities affected by disasters. Space-S, in the Netherlands is a social housing estate in Eindhoven, that stands out for its design, development and management led by its residents.
Then there are three Bronze awards. The Cambodian project for habitat and living conditions improvement in poor communities in Phnom Penh supports residents in informal settlements by improving safety of homes, developing community action, and delivering family support and training. The Hungarian project reprises the issues of the homeless and low-income people in Budapest by developing and operating social housing and social care programmes. This project not only promotes housing renovation but also strives to provide employment support and housing rights advocacy that delivers affordable rental homes. Camp In is a Portuguese initiative that aims to improve the housing conditions and quality of life of vulnerable or at-risk groups through volunteers, focusing on the rural areas that are often forgotten at the European level.
All the initiatives presented with the 2020 World Habitat Awards also demonstrate the vital role resilient communities and societies play in establishing the right to housing and in preventing social and environmental problems alike.
The 2021 World Habitat Awards will be open for entries from 1 January 2021 until 15 March 2021.

Christiane Bürklein

2020 World Habitat Awards
Images: see captions
1) Newcastel upon Tyne, UK
2) Pakistan, Credit AKAH Pakistan
3) Space-S, Netherlands - Credit Mitchell van-Eijk
4) Hungary, Credit Gabor Banko
5) Cambodia
6) Nepal
7) Portugal
Find out more: https://world-habitat.org/world-habitat-awards/

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