President’s blog (2019)

Updates from the former IUT president Sven Bergenstråhle

Updates from our previous president, Sven Bergenstråhle:

Days of rental and cooperative housing in the Czech Republic – conference in Ostrava

It was a Gala Evening March 13 and a Conference March 14, 2019 in Ostrava. It was the 21st year this conference was arranged. Under the auspices of the Government, Chamber of the Deputies of the Parliament, Moravian Silesia (the region Ostrava belongs to), the City of Ostrava, The Union of Towns and Municipalities of the Czech Republic, The Czech Housing Association (landlords) and the Technical University of Ostrava. Milan Taraba, President of the Tenants Association of the Czech Republic SON, chaired the conference and had also invited IUT to take part in the event.

During the evening we listened to some short speeches, was served delicious food and  enjoyed a marvellous singer.

The Conference gathered 150 persons. The speakers were among others from the Ministries for Regional Development, for Labor and Social affairs, from the region and the city, the Technical University, trade unions, RESIDOMO, Mieterverein Dresden und Umgebung eV, etc..

Many of the speakers talked about the need for more social and affordable housing and the need for more rental housing. As I mentioned in my presentation only 19 per cent of the households in the Czech Republic live in rental housing and less than 1 per cent in social housing.

One of the problems in the country is that housing belongs to several different ministries why it could be difficult and takes time to go from words to actions.

One of the speakers were from RESIDOMO. the largest provider of rental housing in the Czech Republic and a subsidiary company of international investor Round Hill Capital (RHC). RHC specializes in managing larger portfolios of rental residential real estate across Europe. RHC owns apartment buildings in Great Britain, Germany, Netherlands, Finland and other countries. Since 2015 it has been on the Czech Republic market. Along with the American investment company Blackstone through RESIDOMO they own and manage 43 000 rental apartments in Moravian – Silesian region, and since April 2018 in Olomouc region as well. I think it is important to follow what will happen with their portfolios of rental housing.

I was honoured to be the second speaker at the conference. My presentation is attachedOstrava IUT.

Sven Bergenstråhle



Promoting the Right to Housing at the EU level: challenges and policy proposal

On the 5th of March 2019 Barcelona Centre for International affairs (CIDOB) and United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) arranged with the support of Barcelona City Council a policy-oriented seminar in Barcelona. In the face of the pressing urban housing challenges across the globe a declaration entitled “Cities for Adequate Housing” was presented at the High-Level Political Forum that took place at the United Nations (UN) in New York in July 2018. The Declaration, which demands more resources and competencies for cities to provide adequate housing for their citizens, was signed by dozens of cities from different continents and is continuing to receive new endorsements. See attached file.

At the beginning of the seminar we got a draft Declaration “European Cities for Adequate Housing” to comment on, but not to spread outside the seminar, since the text will be revised. It had five different themes:

  1. More powers to better regulate the real estate market
  2. More funds to improve our public housing stock
  3. More tools to co-produce public-private community-driven alternative housing
  4. Urban planning that combines adequate housing with quality, inclusive and sustainable neighbourhoods
  5. Municipality cooperation in residential strategies

I was invited to make a short intervention during the first part of the seminar: “What changes in the EU framework could enable cities to better regulate the real-estate market? after Elena Szolgayová.


The presentation can be found here  Barcelona IUT

With participants from Lisbon, Strasbourg, Vienna, FEANTSA, Budapest, Cascais (Portugal), London, UNESCO, URBACT, University of Barcelona, Barcelona Metropolitan Area and Barcelona City it turned out to be a very interesting and rewarding seminar. The work with the Declaration will continue.

Sven Bergenstråhle



On the 22nd-23rd November 2018, I was invited to speak at and attend a conference in Prague on the theme of “European Smart and Sharing Cities.  A  report is attached here, and my presentation for the first session can be found here and for the fourth session here.


On Friday, 26th October 2018 Threshold hosted a one-day housing policy conference as part of the housing charity’s 40th-anniversary events. ‘Reimagining Ireland’s Future – housing, wealth and inequality’ brought together a range of Irish and European housing and social experts to examine what renting and home ownership could look like in Ireland in the decades to come and how these concepts can interplay.

The conference, chaired by the Director of Public Affairs with Murray Consultants and a former journalist Mark Brennock, also explored how we will live in the future, through examining inequality, opportunity and tenure. You can find my presentation here and also an article on the subject of “How to get housing for all households“.

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