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Can we make use of vacant land?

18 of May '23

In discussions of what further housing policy should look like, taking into account all sectors of society, we often overlook an important element of the city - vacant buildings. Their use could rest on the shoulders of local governments, and their adaptation could be a challenge for the youngest architecture students.

As part of our #ReportThursday series, we present documents, reports and guides on architecture, cities and local government that are certainly worth publicizing and promoting. This week we look at the report "Vacant properties in municipalities and the possibilities of converting them into affordable housing for the indigent," which was developed by the author team of the IRMiR Revitalization Advisory Center for Habitat for Humanity Poland.

The report is available on the Habitat for Humanity Poland website.

the void is watching us

With the upcoming election campaign, an issue that is in perpetual crisis - housing- is increasingly returning to the public discourse. At a time when the main political forces are outdoing each other in promising the amount of subsidies for demand-boosting loans, and Development Minister Waldemar Buda has confirmed that the government is closing down the Housing Plus program, we are overlooking the possibility of using vacant land.

As part of the development of the report, it was decided to look at the issue of the use of vacant properties, and to highlight the opportunity that affects the use of these properties by local governments.

What is the problem in assessing the possibility of using vacant buildings. First of all, the lack of adequate inventory and record-keeping. While in the case of municipalities such inventory processes are carried out, they do not take into account vacant buildings owned by religious municipalities, state-owned companies or private vacant buildings. The lack of adequate knowledge and efforts to standardize translates into a falsification of knowledge about them. When it comes to defining vacant buildings, it is important to differentiate not only on their ownership status, but also the issue of area differentiating a house of one hundred square meters from a complex of abandoned warehouses, but also the condition of the objects.

w raporcie autorzy i autorki zwracają uwagę na problem wykorzystania pustostanów w programach rewitalizacji

In the report, the authors and authors highlight the problem of using vacant buildings in revitalization programs

© Habitat for Humanity Poland

opportunities and possibilities

The report indicates opportunities to use the stock of vacant buildings - although, as the authors themselves point out, the document is an introduction to further research on the issues of using the potential of abandoned buildings.

Poland still lacks examples of good practices for the development of such properties with consideration for people in need. Vacant buildings are often overlooked in Municipal Revitalization Programs, although it is these projects that should take into account their use. It is local governments that should see opportunities and expand the municipal housing stock based on funding for general renovations, leasing properties with an entity that operatesSocial Rental Agencies, or cleaning up vacant properties unfit for reuse. Vacant properties could also become a challenge for architecture students, who could take on the challenge of adapting such projects as part of their semester, engineering and master's theses.

As the authors and authors of the document point out - there is a need for further research into the possibility of using vacant buildings, creating a catalog of good practices and strengthening cooperation between NGOs, local government or universities training architects.

problem identyfikacji pustostanów powinien zawierać również odpowiednią standaryzację: od powierzchni po stan budynku

The problem of identifying vacant buildings should also include proper standardization: from the area to the condition of the building

© Habitat for Humanity Poland

The report is available on the Habitat for Humanity Poland website.

compiled by Wiktor Bochenek

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