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Housing and

IFHP co-organizes 'Up Close And Liveable' workshop in Amsterdam June 21st

How can the future of planning, development and scenario building in cities benefit from a fact-based insight into the well-being and social sustainability of a city? And how can these insights be applied as an integral part of urban planning, development policies, strategies, and future scenarios for cities?

These are among the questions that we will adress at the upcoming WeMakeThe.City workshop in Amsterdam. The workshop and break-out sessions are open to all those interested  - please visit the official site to read about the break-out sessions and to register.


The IFHP touches base with long-time members in the Municipality of Amsterdam


On June 21st, the IFHP co-organizes a workshop to adress exactly these questions. The IFHP looks forward to touching base with our long-time members in the Municipality of Amsterdam, as the IFHP and the Municipality of Amsterdam will host a workshop as part of the annual WeMakeThe.City festival's Up Close and Liveable production. The focus will be on social agendas for cities and metropoles and the IFHP will contribute with insights from its Social Cities Programme.


Up Close and Liveable at WeMakeThe.City


As part of this year's WeMakeThe.City festival, a week-long festival inviting inhabitants to participate in events, discussions and workshops around the future of their city, the IFHP will contribute to the "Up Close and Liveable" theme with our workshop on June 21st. Urban liveability is a vastly complex matter, deeply entangled in socioeconomic, environmental and architectural concerns. The Up Close and Liveable theme contains a number of break-out sessions during the day, that bring in professionals from cities all over the globe. The program and official event description looks as below:


09.00 – 10.00   OPENING
Welcome by Duco Stuurman, Municipal Director Social Services, City of Amsterdam.
Keynote speaker OluTimehin Adegbeye, from Lagos, Nigeria, on ‘Who belongs in a city?’

10.00 – 13.15   BREAK-OUT SESSIONS
13.15 – 14.15   LUNCH
14.15 – 15.45   BREAK-OUT SESSIONS
16.00 – 16.30   CLOSING REMARKS
16.30 – 17.30 DRINKS


"Your environment, where you are born, where you attend school, where you build a network, has a great impact on your life expectancy. So if WE make the city, how do we provide equal access to housing, education and health services? How do we handle digital rights and deal with the consequences of growing tourism? And how to do this in a more sustainable and inclusive way? Professionals from cities like Berlin, Boston, Copenhagen, Milan, New York, Paris, Stockholm, Singapore and Tokyo come together to share strategies and solutions on these topics."


The entire workshop and all the break-out sessions will be open to all those interested  - please visit the official site to read about the break-out sessions and to register.


Social City Index - A powerful tool for planning?


At the breakout session "Social City Index - A powerful tool for planning", the IFHP will discuss methods to include urban social sustainability into working streams in urban planning and development policies. The IFHP will present its work with the IFHP Social Cities Programme and the Social Cities Index, its purpose, its practical applicability and our experiences from working with a number of municipalities. On the WeMakeThe.City website, the sessions is described as below:


"If we can measure well-being and social sustainability in cities, how can it be applied as an integral part of urban planning, development policies, strategies, and future scenarios for cities? The IFHP Social Cities Index is an index for measuring urban social sustainability on household, neighborhood and citywide scales. The index is being developed by the International Federation for Housing and Planning (IFHP) in collaboration with the London School of Economics (LSE).  The workshop will discuss the approaches and methods of IFHP Social Cities with the Amsterdam Urban Welfare Index How can we use these tools in urban planning. Is it applicable at neighborhood and city level and does it provide keys for development strategies and future ambitions as well?  Which lessons can be learned for the new environmental vision of the city of Amsterdam and new urban developments within the city."


The Social Cities Index is the first step out of three in IFHP’s flagship programme Social Cities. The programme is divided into:


  1. An index for transforming fragmented data into insights,
  2. Ideation labs for co-creating new solutions to the discoveries of the index, and
  3. A platform for sharing best practices across neighbourhoods, cities, municipalities and nation states.

The need for a Social Cities Index

Academic research shows general agreement that the dimensions of sustainable development has yet to provide equal attention to the three pillars of economic, environmental and social sustainability. Studies from the Oxford Institute for Sustainable Development1 , the OECD2 , and others, have argued that Social Sustainability is the most neglected element of the three because it is far more difficult to quantify, contextualize and develop than economic growth or environmental impact. As a result, social sustainability has primarily been dealt with in connection with the social implication of environmental and economic matters, rather than as an equally constitutive component of sustainable development3.


With a billion more human beings set to dwell in cities and urban environments by 2030, the IFHP has developed the Social Cities programme to fill this gap. The programme is developed in close collaboration with selected Danish municipalities and London School of Economics’ department for urbanization, LSECities. It is made possible with support from Realdania and the Ramboll Foundation. The aim of the Social Cities Index is to deliver the missing link for transforming the social objectives in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals into action. Whereas the discourse on social sustainability in the Danish and European context has been driven by fragmented data, opinions and beliefs, the Social Cities Index provides a tangible tool for measuring social sustainability. The Index is thus the first of its kind to engage policymakers, city administrators, developers, urban professionals and citizens in a fact-based dialogue on how to increase the livelihood of their homes, neighbourhoods and cities.


In total, the index consists of three scale levels, nine categories and 40+ urban indicators. The scale levels divide the index into a: household, neighbourhood, and city level. First of all, at household level the index measures housing affordability and availability, as well as the citizens’ perception of the quality of their homes. Secondly, the neighbourhood level measures safety, access to services, and the degree of social inclusion. Finally, at the city level, the index measures access to jobs and education, mobility, and to what extent citizens feel empowered to participate in local decisionmaking processes. Through the pilot project in the Danish municipality, the index has already proven to be suitable for internal benchmarking between urban districts within the borders of a given municipality, for benchmarking a city’s performance relative to its peers, and for benchmarking a city’s performance to a national average. All data used for the index comes from either national statistics or surveys performed by the city administrations at local level. 


1 Oxford Institute for Sustainable Development: Social Sustainability: An Exploratory Analysis of its Definition, Assessment Methods, Metrics and Tools, in ‘Measuring Social Sustainability: Best Practice from Urban Renewal in the EU’, 2007/01: EIBURS Working Paper Series, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, UK, 2007.

2 OECD: Perspectives on Global Development 2012: Social Cohesion in a Shifting World, OECD, Paris, France, 2001.

3 OECD: Analytic Report on Sustainable Development SG/SD (2001)1-14, OECD, Paris, France, 2001.