In the podcast episode titled “Homelessness No More! How Do We Tackle the EU’s Housing Crisis?”, the urgent issue of homelessness across the European Union was addressed. Despite Europe’s relative wealth, the challenge of ensuring safe and decent housing for all citizens persisted, prompting crucial reflections on the EU’s core values of social justice, solidarity, and inclusivity. Key voices in the fight against homelessness, including Frederik Spinnewijn from FEANTSA, Nóra Teller from the Metropolitan Research Institute, and María del Carmen Barrera Chamorro from EESC, participated in the discussion. Frederik shed light on FEANTSA’s multifaceted approach, emphasizing mutual learning and innovative solutions like Housing First. Nóra provided valuable insights into the stark realities of homelessness in Europe, highlighting successful strategies from countries like Finland, Austria, and Denmark. María outlined the importance of collaborative efforts through platforms like the European Platform for Combating Homelessness and called for concrete actions at the EU level.
In April 2023 Budapest municipality launched a new initiative: City Governance Academy. This is a whole-year course with meetings every second Saturday between 10-17 hours. During the 13 occasions the participants get three presentations each day, covering all important fields of urban government and governance, from the best Hungarian academics and practitioners. The cost of the course is sponsored by the municipality, as a result of which the course is given for free for the selected participants. The director of this initiative is Iván Tosics.
There was a large interest in this initiative, the number of applicants was 120, of whom 25 were admitted as a result of a two-step recruitment process. They are coming from very different disciplines, having at least one university degree, many of them studied partly abroad. They work currently in very different places (a minority of them in city administrations). They had to prove their interest in public administration issues with a motivation letter.
The teaching phase of the City Governance Academy ended early December 2023. This was followed by a 2 day long study trip to Vienna. At the end of the course the students must prepare a final thesis document, related to the subjects of the course, which they have to defend in the presence of the other students, the reviewer and the lecturers, in the framework of a closed professional conference. Those who successfully finish the course, get an accredited adult learning diploma, issued by the Budapest Cultural Center.
On 8 February 2024 Ivan Tosics participated in an International Roundtable, as part of the Greater Paris Metropolis Meetings #1. The topic of the conference was: Metropolises facing the challenges of density: what concrete solutions for sustainable and desirable density?
The Greater Paris Metropolis and its Development Council (CoDev) organized at the Maison de la Chimie (Paris) the first edition of the “Metropole du Grand Paris” meetings. This conference brought together 200 elected officials, academics and French and international practitioners around one objective: to discuss concrete solutions to promote sustainable and desirable densification.
Ivan Tosics gave the afternoon keynote presentation at the urban@it National Center for Urban Policy Studies conference on 26 January 2024, at the Enzo Biagi Auditorium in Bologna. The title of the presentation was: „The challenges of the post-pandemic recovery in EU: are cities crucial?”
The presentation was followed by a moderated roundtable, attended by Marco Cremaschi – Sciences Po, Paris; Pietro Reviglio – Eurocities; Simone Ombuen – Roma Tre University; Carlo Cellamare – La Sapienza University of Rome; Laura Colini – IUAV University of Venice; Gabriele Pasqui – Polytechnic of Milan; Camilla Perrone – University of Florence; moderated by Valeria Fedeli – Polytechnic of Milan.
The presentation, the roundtable and the following debate can be seen on the link:
“Urban@it – National study center for urban policies” is an association promoted by numerous Italian universities (University of Bologna, Polytechnic of Milan, IUAV University of Venice, University of Florence, Roma Tre University, Federico II University of Naples, Polytechnic of Bari) and by three other entities (ANCI, Italian Society of Urban Planners, Laboratorio Urbano). It was established on 15 December 2014.
Iván Tosics’ New Year’s photo-essay, titled “GREEN GROWTH – DEGROWTH – COLLAPSE,” offers a thought-provoking exploration of climate change based on an early Autumn 2023 meeting, three Budapest intellectuals organized an informal weekend meeting for 30 people in a village, where they gathered in thatched roof secondary farmhouses. The focus of the ‘Vértesacsa conversation’ was climate change, addressing the challenges, prevailing policies, and possibilities for local and individual actions.
Through captivating imagery and insightful commentary, Tosics delves into the dichotomy between green growth and degrowth, prompting reflection on the urgent need for environmental sustainability in the face of potential collapse. His artistic exploration serves as a catalyst for dialogue and introspection among non-climate-expert intellectuals, inviting them to contemplate the multifaceted dimensions of the climate change issue.
Discussing the possibilities of deep renovation in the multi-unit building sector On November 7th and 8th a workshop series, consisting of three distinctive modules, was organised by MRI. The event brought together researchers from Szolidáris Gazdasági Központ, REKK, BME and F4STER, independent experts as Zoltán Varga, as well as representatives of the Municipality of Budapest, and districts 8, 11 and 13. Additionally Habitat for Humanity International, as well as representatives of the national government governmental were present.
Part of an ongoing work to support the development of a complex energy efficiency renovation program that enables energy poor households and buildings to begin the refurbishment process. Focusing solely of multi-unit buildings, the work has focused on three distinctive pillars: technical, financial and community development, based on the firm belief that vulnerable households need extra support to get engaged.
The outcomes of the workshop, as well as the entire research will be summarized in the forthcoming report about recommendations, which will be available on the ComAct project website from January, 2024. The discussion shed light to some important findings, such as:
- Energy efficient interventions must be strongly linked to overcoming structural deficiencies, as the latter are placed higher on the agenda of the inhabitants;
- Interventions under the principle of “energy efficiency first” can have decades long pay-off periods, thus can’t be financed by purely market-based models (like ESCO schemes or energy obligation schemes);
- Integrating the issue of energy poverty into potential subsidy schemes in Hungary is extremely difficult due to the separation of tasks and responsibilities between various ministries and departments.