02-03-2016

The winners of the World Habitat Awards 2015-16

Housing,

Award,

Two winners were selected from the ten finalists presented.



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The winners of the World Habitat Awards 2015-16 Two winners were selected from the ten finalists presented. Self-Help Housing in the North of England delivered by Canopy and Giroscope, and Caño Martín Peña Community Land Trust in Puerto Rico.

The winners of the World Habitat Awards 2015-16 were announced on 29 February. The awards were established in 1985 by the Building and Social Housing Foundation (BSHF) in partnership with the United Nations Humans Settlement Programme (UN-Habitat), to promote good design practices for the habitats of disadvantaged and homeless people .

Even though they are from two very different places, this year's two winners have very similar purposes, namely to empower communities to construct their own housing, without being forced to wait or hope for outside help.
One is Self-Help Housing in the North of England, delivered by two separate housing charities, Canopy and Giroscope. These charities are pioneers in a movement of housing providers called "Self-Help Housing". They train homeless and vulnerable people to renovate abandoned properties and bring them back into use as affordable housing, by doing so helping many other people who are homeless or in need.

The other winner is Caño Martín Peña Community Land Trust in Puerto Rico. A community land trust is a non-profit organisation that develops and constructs affordable, long-term housing, and provides a new model for improving informal settlements. This is the case in San Juan, the capital of Puerto Rico,where the settlements that sprang up along the banks of the polluted channel have been turned into an economically and socially sustainable community by engaging all stakeholders and through direct democracy.

The winners may be on different sides of the world, but one thing unites them. The right to housing is a human right not a whim. A simple house, a place you can call home, is the first step to improving the quality of life.
The winners will receive their Awards at Habitat III in Ecuador - the United Nations Conference on Housing and SUstainable Urban Development.

Christiane Bürklein

World Habitat Awards 2015-16, http://www.worldhabitatawards.org/
Building and Social Housing Foundation (BSHF), http://www.bshf.org/
Images: Courtesy of World Habitat Awards