Debate_A4: Housing crisis and urban politics
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Discuteers: S. Kára, director of the Section of social affairs of the Municipality of the Capital of SR; L. Kovácsová, coordinator of the Municipal Rent Agency; B. Bírová, director of the Platform for Social Housing (CZ); dramaturgy and moderation of the debate B. Smieška
Privatization of the housing stock was one of the defining characteristics of post-November social development. The towns were getting rid of their housing properties – which were in the first waves available for, from today’s point of view, for minuscule prices. Owning an apartment had become an achievement and a symbol of the new era. In time, however, housing became primarily a commodity that is far from accessible to everyone. The development of the housing stock in cities is, with small exceptions, in the hands of private capital and its prices are dictated by the real estate market. The public rental sector practically does not exist, the current system of social housing cannot satisfy all those in need. One of the basic social rights, the right to housing, stays unfulfilled for many.
The capital of the country was never an exception, on the contrary, the politically dominant neoliberal character of Bratislava’s administration of the three decades after the revolution, had also determined the approach towards the politics of the town in the field of social areas – to which was reflected in the application of mainly residual model of social politics.
The situation changed after the municipal elections in 2018. Since then, the municipality’s social affairs section has been preparing and implementing comprehensive public policies in the social area, including the access to housing. One of the concrete results is the establishment of the Municipal Rent Agency, as the first ever such agency in Slovakia, which will start its activities in 2023. In the neighboring Czech Republic (Prague), there are already many years of experience with such a model.
Is the establishment of the Municipal Rental Agency part of a broader strategy in expanding the accessibility of social housing? How does it improve the availability of housing in general? Does the City have any plans and tools in the area of expanding its own housing stock and developing the public rental sector? Does it cooperate with the state, or with the private sector? What inspiring examples of solutions to the housing crisis/development of housing affordability can we find in the Czech Republic, or other countries with a similar story?
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