What it's about:
Cities worldwide are facing an emergency housing crisis, the mayors of Barcelona and London warned this week.
A global lack of affordable housing and inadequate protection of tenants’ rights have “hollowed out” city centres, London mayor Sadiq Khan and Barcelona mayor Ada Colau wrote in The Guardian.
Overseas buyers have further exacerbated the housing crisis by turning properties into speculative assets rather than homes, they added.
To combat this crisis, mayors and local governments must work together and focus on building more social-rented properties and cracking down on property speculation, they said.
“Cities are not simply a collection of buildings, streets and squares. They are also the sum of their people,” Khan and Colau wrote.
Why it's noteworthy:
In Barcelona and London, property prices have skyrocketed in recent years due to a surge in foreign investment, while short-term holiday lets have also contributed to a growing shortage of affordable housing.
In April, Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau revived a controversial policy that forces banks to turn empty, repossessed properties into affordable homes.
Mayor Sadiq Khan, whose victory in 2016 was built on a pledge to fix London’s housing crisis, announced a funding push of £1.67 billion for council housing in May.
But in order to ease the housing crisis, city leaders need more resources to increase the number of affordable homes and bolster tenants’ rights, the mayors wrote in The Guardian.
Only then will officials be able to ensure every urban resident has access to a secure and reasonably priced home, they argued.
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