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Make Better Policies for informal housing (international learning event)
Make Better Policies for informal housing (international learning event)
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MKBT: Make Better and the PACT Foundation, with the support of Habitat for Humanity Romania, co-organized and facilitated the Tackling informal settlements – practices and policies dealing with housing informality international conference in Bucharest on July 6, 2018.

Part of the No Man’s Land project, the event aimed to investigate the similarities and differences between different examples of informal housing at international level and to identify solutions and intervention models that proved to be good practices in certain areas and could also be relevant in the Romanian context. The conference benefitted from the extraordinary participation of urban housing and urban planning policies international experts such as Sasha Tsenkova (Professor of the University of Calgary, Canada), Julien Damon (Professor Sciences Po Paris, France), Ashmet Elezovski (National Roma Centrum, Macedonia) and numerous representatives of national authorities (MDRAP, ANR), local authorities, NGOs and local communities facing informal housing or issues related to it in Romania.

Sasha Tsenkova about informal settlements as “landscapes of despair”, but also as viable sites with real potential for formalization.

The international speakers held the following presentations and Q&A sessions in the introductory and exploratory panel Recognition, Responsibility and Solutions – International Good Practices:

  • Ms. Sasha Tsenkova, Canada – “Informality, Urban Planning & Rebuilding Resilient Communities”
  • Dl. Ashmet Elezovski, Macedonia – “Legalization of Roma Housing in Macedonia”
  • Dl. Julien Damon, France – „Three perspectives on slums: the world, Europe, France”

Beyond the valuable exchange of information and good international practices, one of the main objectives of the event was to find concrete solutions and applicable methods together with experts and authorities’ representatives contributing to the thematic working groups: Legislation; Urban planning and restructuring; Integrated approach, complementary measures; National and European funding possible for disadvantaged communities – limitations and opportunities.

More information on informal housing and the main conclusions of the conference and thematic groups are available on this link.

More than 64,000 Romanian families live in informal settlements without having the right to possess land and their homes, in some cases without IDs, with limited or no access to basic utilities and to road infrastructure. Often, the location of their homes put both the safety and health of the residents in danger.

However, the current Romanian regulatory framework, governmental policies and subsequent EU programs do not make clear references to informal housing, which poses the main problem to any public intervention trying to stop or reduce this phenomenon or to tackle the issues generated by housing informality.

You are invited to watch the below short film about informal housing in Romania (directed & edited by Vira Films within the No Man’s Land project).

The learning and working event also created the context of forming a dedicated inter-institutional working group, a capacity need addressed by most participants to the discussion and included on the agenda of institutions, such as the National Agency for Roma people and the General Secretariat of the Government.

The international conference organized by the PACT Foundation, MKBT: Make Better, GAL Reşiţa, Bumbeşti-Jiu DEP Association, Valea Corbului Initiative Group is part of the No Man’s Land: Informal Housing in Roma Communities – recognition, responsibility and common solutions project, which aims to document the phenomenon of informal housing in Romania, its scale and effects; to raise awareness on this phenomenon; to explore the options and possible regulatory and operational solutions for improving living conditions in informal housing; to limit the phenomenon of informal housing in Romania. More info on

The event was supported by the Embassy of the French Republic in Romania and by Habitat for Humanity Romania (through the Build Solid Ground project, funded by the European Union).

Thank you!