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Housing Quality Indicators in sustainable development

Abstract: There are a number of municipalities in the Czech Republic dedicated to Agenda MA 21, a state-guaranteed program to promote sustainable development of municipalities and regions. The Agenda is subdivided into multiple areas, but there is no part specifically dedicated to housing - one of the basic human needs. Therefore, at the initiative of municipalities affiliated within the organization Healthy Cities, a methodology for evaluating sustainable development specifically focused on housing has been developed by the Housing Quality Center. The aim was to prepare a tool for municipalities to analyze the complex field of housing in a relatively simple way and to examine their level of involvement with the area. The methodology is designed to be used by municipalities of different types varying by size and administrative powers. Each indicator represents a certain range of phenomena that can be narrowed, expanded or deepened according to the degree of willingness and current possibilities of the given municipality. It is designed not to generate new information sources and planning tools, but to work with those that are either mandatorily required under existing regulations or recommended in pursuit of other planning objectives. The method of evaluation is prepared as a self-assessment. The indicators outline the basic areas which should not to be omitted. These the municipality can further refine, extend, supplement according to its requirements. For municipalities, the use of methodology presents the potential to set up, monitor and practice their own housing policy and strategy. The methodology was designed so that the observed phenomena in accord would lead to a more balanced approach to the housing sector and fundamentally enhance its overall quality. The aim was to produce a tool which would be clear, simple, and intertwined with already existing planning documents. It uses the principles of qualitative evaluation, based not only on national and international documents, political declarations or reference evaluation systems and methodologies, but above all on the needs and experiences of individual municipalities. It is subdivided according to the basic four pillars of sustainable housing (society, economy, environment, culture). There are three fundamental phenomena identified in each pillar that can be considered as key, i.e. those whose fulfilment enhances significantly the quality of the environment in itself and at the same time ties together other important measures, or expands the community's ability to guide the sphere and make informed decisions. The economic pillar focuses on monitoring the share of households with an extreme economic burden from housing, the ratio of different housing tenure (municipal, cooperative, employers and owner-occupied) and monitoring more closely the structure of the municipal-owned housing stock. The environmental pillar monitors the compactness of housing, the principles of healthy housing and the energy management of the municipality's housing stock. The social pillar monitors the number of homeless people or those at risk of losing their homes, households in overcrowded housing, and residential segregation. The cultural pillar assesses subjective satisfaction with one’s housing, assesses the orientation (front-back etc.) and legibility of the given development, and monitors the continuity of cultural, social and community activities in the public space. The role of local and regional authorities in the area of housing and delivering its quality is indispensable, but is often neglected or reduced purely to stewardship of the municipal housing stock. However, the role of municipalities as land managers is much broader. Through qualified assessment, planning, responsible selection and subsequent implementation of quality projects, or by laying down conditions for their implementation, local authorities have a significant impact not only on shaping their cities, but also on their overall economic, environmental and social sustainability.

TICHÝ, David, KOHOUT, Michal, KARABCOVÁ, Nikola, BOUŠKOVÁ, Jitka (2021). Bydlení – jak evaluovat udržitelný rozvoj?. In: Jiří Kugl, ed. Člověk, stavba a územní plánování 14. ČVUT v Praze, Fakulta stavební pp. 211-228. ISBN 978-80-01-06893-9. ISSN 2336-7695.