LISER, Esch-sur-Alzette, Campus Belval, Luxembourg
12-13 novembre 2018

3rd Affordable Housing Forum: Towards new Cultures of Affordable Housing?

The Affordable Housing Forum of ETH CASE Centre for Research on Architecture, Society & the Built Environment invites submissions to its 2018 conference, taking place on 12 and 13 November, at the Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (LISER).

The European Union has dedicated the year 2018 to cultural heritage. This occasion invites us to rethink the ways culture influences our built environment and ultimately the way we live. Despite globalised lifestyles, monolithic star architectures, a financialised world economy and broadly shared neoliberal government reforms, the way housing in the 21st century is constructed, appropriated and used is still place-specific. Alpine architecture, Berlin’s Mietshäuser, Parisian Habitation à Loyer Modéré (HML), or the Barcelona manzana urbana (urban block) are examples of how specific building forms are strongly associated with a given place. Not only building forms are culturally underpinned but the multiple strategies of organising and managing housing are also locally grounded. Swiss cooperative housing, for example, is rooted in a particular democratic culture. The Vienna model of social housing is distinctively linked with its political and historical context. Housing is always related to culture – with influences ranging from climatic and geographic conditions, available resources, social conditions, building practices, housing needs and practices of use, to laws and regulations and political idiosyncrasies.

The diversity of cultures is important to understand differences in housing systems across the globe. Accounting for culture is needed when comparing and contrasting living arrangements in different places. Even laws and regulations are culturally influenced – e.g. the French state takes a different position towards building license than the United Kingdom. What is understood as affordable in a Spanish situation may differ greatly from Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries. The recent (re)emergence of transnational flows of policy ideas, plans and people brings culture back to the forefront.

In 2018, the theme of the Affordable Housing Forum (AHF) is: Towards Cultures of Affordable Housing? We invite submissions that investigate current forms and models of affordable housing – and their links to cultural and local context.

The AHF brings together researchers, architects, planners and housing professionals to stimulate knowledge exchange between young and established experts across different sectors and geographies. On European funding level, Luxemburg is considered as a country with a need to strengthen its international research. Consequently, ETH Wohnforum – ETH CASE is delighted to organise with LISER the 3rd AHF. In addition to a panel on the affordable housing challenge of Luxemburg, different thematic panels will be grouped around our four research themes: People, Plans, Provision and Policy.

Theme 1: The Culture of Affordable Living: About lifestyles, housing needs, preferences and daily practices

We invite submissions that contribute with empirical and/or theoretical insights to the debate of housing as lived spaces, spatial practices, and the ways different people relate to the built environment. The contributions may investigate the differences in people’s behaviours, perceptions, practices, with respect to, for instance, demographic, socio-economic features of people, household types, lifestyle orientations; differences in spatial practices between residents in different types/ models of affordable housing; the nature of limitations, difficulties to fulfill the beyond shelter housing needs in affordable housing. The aim of the panel is to draw from different country experiences and debate ways to better account for people and their heterogeneous needs in housing projects.

Theme 2: Reading Culture in Affordable Housing Plans: Advances in affordable housing projects and their analysis

This panel attempts to bring housing practices and research together by offering a platform to demonstrate innovative housing solutions as well as current academic efforts to analyze housing plans, projects, and the concept of affordability within the built form. Potential submissions may inquire, among other issues, the evolution of housing plans in time, the cultural sensitivity and/or flexibility of housing projects, or the role of architects in providing better solutions for a differentiated demand, the emerging role of house-related empowerment, and/ or the role of prosumer society in conceiving and implementing affordable housing solutions; but also economic efficiency of evolution/ changes in AH projects, plans, models.

Theme 3: Cultures of Affordable Housing Systems- The role of culture in understanding affordable housing models, housing supply, affordability and profitability

We invite submissions that contribute with empirical and/or theoretical insights to the analysis and/or comparison of different housing regimes, social housing systems, definitions and models of affordable housing related to their cultural and historical background. Potential submissions may also explore how cultural change (e.g. due to digital transformation), new ideas and ways of living contribute to or force the changes in AH delivery; how institutions providing AH offer evolve (their way of functioning, management, business models, ...) due to cultural change.

Theme 4: Towards a Cultural Reading of Policy: Place-specificity of laws and regulations and their link to housing affordability

This panel aims at stimulating discussion about the rootedness of housing-related legislation (including finance, land, construction, but also building and zoning codes, planning) as well its inertia to change. Laws not only affect the way housing is built by defining what is possible or not but also influence affordability levels by defining standards. Potential submissions may, among the others, discuss the discourse on affordable housing in housing-related legislation, its changes over time, or cross-country comparisons; compare how housing-related legislation addresses the needs and preferences related to cultural context in a given society.

Theme 5: The Need for Regional Approaches to Affordable Housing: Cross-border living cultures in cross-border territories

This plenary session will invite submissions that contribute with theoretical or empirical insights into the debate about cross-border residential mobility and its multiple consequences for individuals (daily mobility, spatial practices) and for “hosting” municipalities (e.g. increase in population, pressure on construction, infrastructure, social/ cultural/ ethnic differentiation). We aim at discussing two perspectives: individual and stakeholders. First, we are interested in how the decision to search for affordable housing at cross-border scale affects other life domains. Second, we aim to discuss how stakeholders address/ govern the cross-border residential mobility (cross-border planning, infrastructure, construction…).


Paper proposals should include your name, affiliation, contact details, a title, up to five key words, and your panel preference. The text body of the abstract should not exceed 300 words. Please submit a pdf file no later than June 15, 2018 to ahf(a) Authors will be notified by shortly after.

In order to stimulate knowledge exchange and guarantee the quality of papers, the conference committee of the AHF organizes peer-to-peer reviews. Consequently, draft full papers are due by August 30. Every accepted author needs to provide feedback to another author and submit it by September 30. Final full papers need to be submitted before October 30.

For questions please contact ahf2018(a) or magdalena.gorczynska(a) For more information about the Affordable Housing Forum and its individual as well as institutional memberships, please contact: or


The early bird discount of EUR 100 is available until July 31. Afterwards, the full fee of EUR 140 is due. Special discount of 50% of the conference fee is available for the PhD students (confirmed status). The Cancellation fee is EUR 50 before August 30 and 50% of the conference fee afterwards. Companies who would like to exhibit innovative affordable housing solutions in their projects should contact the administrative conference organization.

Access the on-line registration for the conference here

About the Affordable Housing Forum

The Affordable Housing Forum has been created at ETH Wohnforum – ETH CASE in Zurich in 2016 in order to support the New Urban Agenda and its housing at the centre focus by gathering and organizing expertise on affordable housing in Europe. Special emphasis is put on the specific housing challenge of former East European Countries (EEC), as well as cross-sector knowledge exchange. Four research axes are proposed to bring together various experienced and young actors from research, the professional field and the government:

The 4P of AHF stand for people, practices, provision and policy. In order to advance our understanding of affordable housing, more insights are needed (i) on the ways people use and appropriate housing and their aspirations; on (ii) actually implemented housing projects and actual housing projects


LISER is a Luxembourgish public research institute, under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Higher Education and Research. LISER’s research focuses mainly on the fields of social and economic policies, including their spatial dimension.

Through its empirical and theoretical work, the institute’s mission is to provide the scientific community and society with clear, relevant and solid answers. The objective is to develop a sharp understanding of socio-economic mechanisms and their spatio-temporal dimensions in order to contribute to the development of better policies and to lay the foundations for a future strategic vision for our society. LISER is composed of three research departments: Labour Market, Living Conditions, Urban Development and Mobility.

Distinct to LISER is a Data Centre, which over many years, has developed a centre of excellence for survey methodology. The Data Centre has data collection capabilities - the survey team - and a unit in charge of curating, archiving and providing access to data collected by the institute.

Conference Organization

Academic Conference Committee

  • Dr. Magdalena Gorczynska, LISER
  • Dr. Brano Glumac, LISER
  • Dr. Marie Glaser, ETH Wohnforum – ETH CASE Zürich
  • Dr. Anthony Boanada-Fuchs, ETH Wohnforum – ETH CASE Zürich
  • Prof. Michal Kohout, Czech Technical University Prague
  • Prof. Dr. Stefan Lundberg, KTH Stockholm
  • Prof. Dr. Sergio Nasarre-Aznar, UNESCO Chair of Housing, University Rovira i Virgili
  • Gerard van Bortel, TU Delft
  • Dr. Richard Lang, Johannes Kepler University Linz
  • Dr. Anna Richter, HafenCity University Hamburg
  • Ar. Jaime Royo Olid, University of Cambridge

Administrative Conference Committee

Round Table

'How to address affordable housing challenge in Luxembourg?'

in French with simultaneous interpretation into English

16:00-18h00 in LISER Conference room. 1st floor of Maison des Sciences Humaines (11, Porte des Sciences, L-4366 Esch-sur-Alzette)

National experts and practitioners (public developers, architects, representatives of the platform working on new municipal housing strategy and of the Social Real Estate Agency) will present their good practices and share their experience and opinions about the new, innovative solutions to provide affordable and decent housing.


  • Olivier Klein (LISER)
  • Julien Licheron (LISER)
  • Diane Dupont (Ministère du Logement)


  • Yves Biwer (AGORA)
  • Diane Dupont (Ministère du Logement)
  • Lex Faber (Cellule nationale d’Information pour la Politique Urbaine ,CIPU)
  • Gilles Hempel (Agence Immobilière Sociale)
  • Eric Rosin (Fonds du Logement)
  • Bob Strotz (Heisbourg Strotz Architects)


Hubert Gamelon

(updated on 08/11/2018)
Book of abstracts