The Social Production of Habitat Platform is a collaborative initiative, inviting any actor working on community-driven habitat solutions and sharing the vision of cities built by and for their inhabitants to collaborate. The Platform is facilitated by urbaMonde and was founded in 2014 by major inhabitant networks committed to promoting community-led habitat solutions across five continents, namely: Habitat International Coalition, Shack/Slum Dwellers International, Asian Coalition for Housing Rights, Grounded Solutions Network (formerly National Community Land Trust Network), Co-operative Housing International and Building and Social Housing Foundation.

The Platform seeks to create active solidarity links between inhabitant groups and to facilitate exchanges between communities at the regional level, both in-site (HUB-meetings) and online (digital social platform), as well as to increase the visibility of public policies and public support to community-driven urban development. To do so, the Platform promotes the access to (serviced) land, affordable finance, legal frameworks and technical assistance for local communities; all of which are elements necessary to implement the right to the city and the right to housing. In this context, the Social Production of Habitat and the Global Platform for the Right to the City are complementary initiatives that both seek to strengthen community-driven processes towards building more inclusive and just cities.

In 2016, the City of Geneva committed to hosting a yearly coordination meeting of the Platform partners. The first edition of this coordination meeting took place on March 1-4, 2017 and was aligned with the 34th Session of the Human Rights Council of the United Nations, and particularly the presentation of the latest report on the ‘financialization of housing’ of the Special Rapporteur of the United Nations on the Right to Adequate Housing Leilani Farha. At the occasion of this meeting, the Platform partners, as well as the Special Rapporteur and other actors, have committed to joining forces with the aim to promote the right to adequate housing and the right to the city.

The Platform partners have implemented a number of pilot experiences through the Platform: regional gatherings in Latin America and Europe, an open-source online tool with a growing number of documented projects and organizations (digital social platform), a pilot of a peer-to-peer finance mechanism linking housing cooperatives from Switzerland and inhabitant groups in Senegal, and regional Social Production of Habitat awards. The latter are organized in collaboration with the World Habitat Awards promoted by the UK-based organization Building and Social Housing Foundation and UN-Habitat. The latest edition of the award resulted in the public recognition of five inspiring Social production of habitat projects from Latin America in June 2017 in Mexico City.

Article by Bea Varnai, Secretary of urbaMonde-France.