Sustainable and Affordable Housing (SAH)

New Expert Group from METREX to explore strategic issues around delivery of sustainable and affordable housing

Since the start of this year, the METREX Secretariat and Claudia Murray from the University of Reading (UK) have started a new METREX Expert Group focusing on Sustainable and Affordable Housing (SAH). The aim is to explore opportunities for regional governments to contribute to this critical and pressing issue.

The state of Art 

Housing matters usually come under the incumbency of municipal governments. However, there is emerging evidence that metropolitan governments have a better understanding of intermunicipal operators that are at the forefront of housing development, such as financial organizations landowners and developers. This group of stakeholders usually cross boundaries at municipal and even country level in their operations, and we propose a new approach to engage with them and find opportunities and solutions for regional affordability.

Our aims

The main objective is to explore alternatives and solutions that can help us tackle the housing and affordability crisis by linking to existing initiatives, for example EU programs and funding opportunities as well as organizations such as Housing Europe, the largest European network of public, cooperative and social housing providers. Furthermore want to hear non-government actors, such as developers, landowners and financial institutions to a series of in-depth focus groups and discussions that can map the metropolitan landscape of operators and find ways to collaborate. We aim to engage with members and share their expertise on land issues affecting housing affordability in their regions and co-produce innovative thinking and approaches.

Overall, the launch of a Sustainable and Affordable Housing Expert Group (SAH) would be an opportunity to develop a strategic multistakeholder network that can enable the creation of more equitable and sustainable communities. By attempting to bridge the local and metropolitan gap in affordable housing solutions, this group has the potential to make a significant impact on the housing landscape and improve the lives of countless individuals and families in Europe.

The new Expert Group will provide Members with the information, tools, and resources they need to take action to address housing affordability and related climate change issues in their communities.

It is expected that the group will meet over the course of two years, online and in person. Members are asked to consider appropriate colleagues to join the group.

Draft Agenda SAH Activity Plan 2024-2025

The METREX Sustainable and Affordable Housing Expert Group (SAH) was launched during the fourth edition of the Social Housing Festival in Barcelona (SHF) in May 2023 and received a very enthusiastic response.
The two-year preliminary agenda of the group is being discussed with the SAH group members and will be updated in progress. This includes a series of thematic and place-based workshops and online interactive sessions leading towards the next Social Housing Festival to be held in June 2025 in Dublin, where we aim to deliver an event showcasing our activities.

What follows is a draft agenda for the first half of the year 2024. Dates and agenda for each activity will be confirmed in progress:


SAH Meeting #1: Kick-off Event. First gathering of the group to outline the concrete issues and challenges that metropolitan regions and areas are facing.
Date: 18 January at 13:30 – 14:30 CET time
Format: online meeting
Proposed agenda: SAH chair to present current goals and priorities and open a discussion with members to agree on the EG Terms of Reference and agenda for 2024/25.


SAH Meeting #2: Get inspired session
Date: 7 February 2024 at 11:00 – 12:00 CET time
Format: online presentation
Agenda: Tuna Taşan-Kok, University of Amsterdam, will present the paper: Governing regional affordability: rethinking the production of affordable spaces across the Metropolitan Region of Amsterdam (MRA)


SAH Meeting #3: Get inspired online session
Date: 11.04.2024 at 13:30 – 14:30 CET time
Format: online presentation
Agenda: Claudia Murray, University of Reading and METREX SAH Group coordinator, will introduce the Models of real estate development process.


SAH Strasbourg workshoponline preparatory session
Date (tentative): 06.06.2024 at 13:30 – 14:30 CET time
Format: online presentation
Agenda: Strasbourg local actors and representatives will introduce the context and the thematic framework.

SAH Strasbourg workshop (2-day activity)
Date (tentative): 20 – 21 June
Format: on site
Agenda: working sessions will include expert meetings and site visits combined with follow up roundtable discussion with local stakeholders.
Theme: land management strategies with particular emphasis on the possibilities of housing provision for people in urgent need.


SAH Strasbourg workshop – conclusive online session  
Date: September (tbc)
Format: online presentation/panel discussion
Agenda: the conclusive session will offer the opportunity to reflect on the outcomes of the Workshop by applying the Theory of Change (ToC), a useful tool to critically look at the results of this activity and envision future steps.


SAH Utrecht workshop
Date: 23-24 September
Format: on site expert meetings and site visits.
Agenda: Financing instruments for out of the box solutions. How banks, planning rules and legislation can support community-led housing?


Curious or want to be part of this new METREX Program?

Members interested in joining the new Sustainable and Affordable Housing Expert Group are invited to contact Viviana Rubbo.

Photo by Tom Rumble on Unsplash