Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, February 19, 2021 – The Official College of Architects of Gran Canaria (COAGC) began yesterday a series of conferences entitled ‘Sustainable Cities and Communities of the Canary Islands’.
In the series of conferences, he intends to identify the effects and consequences of the climate emergency in Canarian cities applied to different central issues involved in Sustainable Development Goal number 11, on sustainable cities and communities.
Half of the world’s population lives in cities and that number will increase by 2030. However, urban space only occupies 3% of the land area, therefore it requires solutions in many fields.
The first conference addressed access to housing for the population in the Canary Islands. During the conference, topics such as public housing programs, the balance between home ownership and rent, the gentrification of cities or improvements in financing conditions for access to housing were addressed.
The meeting was attended by Vicente Boissier Domínguez, dean of the COAGC, and Candelaria Delgado Toledo, president of the Official College of Social Workers of Tenerife. Carmelo Ramírez Rodríguez, manager of Fomentas, the municipal housing and land company of the city of Telde and president of AVS (Association of Public Housing and Land Managers of the Canary Islands and José Antonio Aguilera Núñez, director of strategic business and institutions of Deutsche Bank.
The dean of COAGC, Vicente Boissier, recalled that access to housing is valued as the main indicator that marks the level of social exclusion and vulnerability. Regarding the housing stock on the islands, he pointed out that more than half are over 30 years old, so a reform is essential to guarantee comfort and energy efficiency.
On the other hand, he stressed that the habitability model has changed «because the needs are different.» In this regard, he suggested exploring models such as cohousing . «It is necessary to create public housing near the cities,» she concluded.
The president of the Official College of Social Workers of Tenerife, Candelaria Rodríguez, oriented her speech towards the social sector that, as a worker in the social field, she knows best. She estimated 138,262 empty homes and denounced the increase in rental prices since 2018, «which makes access to housing difficult.»
The delicate social situation in the Canary Islands makes it very difficult for families to make housing payments, whether rent or mortgage,» he said. Lastly, he outlined the guidelines for housing provided for in the Reactiva Plan for the Canary Islands. Among them are find the extension of public housing or the possibility of sharing a house.
Carmelo Ramírez Rodríguez, manager of Fomentas, a municipal housing company in the city of Telde, highlighted the high level of home ownership in Spain, higher than the European average and much higher than its neighboring countries.
Regarding social rent, Spain has 2.5%, while France has 16.8% and the Netherlands 30%.
However, he believes that 25,000 social homes are necessary in the Canary Islands. However, in the mirror he put the data on the promotion of public housing in Telde, where new housing has not been promoted for more than a decade.
The director of strategic business and institutions of Deutsche Bank, José Antonio Aguilera, explained the work carried out by his bank.
In short, they offer 100% financing for communities of owners who wish to undertake rehabilitation works. In this way, they cover the works or installations with a loan through direct payment to the rehabilitation company.
With the space dedicated to housing, the College of Architects of Gran Canaria begins a series of conferences with seven thematic blocks: the one named on access to housing, public transport, inclusive and sustainable urbanization, natural and cultural heritage, infrastructure planning sustainable, access to green areas and safe public spaces and links between urban, peri-urban and rural areas.
Finally, the conclusions will be discussed in the seventh edition of the Architecture Week, which will take place in October. The cycle aims to break down the goals of SDG-11.