What a week we had – the 3rd International Social Housing Festival was full of events, networking, mingling and co-operation! The international social housing community came to Helsinki to explore housing as the foundation of good living, while the festival highlighted the role of social, public and co-operative housing in achieving socially and ecologically sustainable living in our cities now and in the future.

We wanted to spark an international debate on the quality of housing as a quality of living, and we invited you all to explore and debate in three themes: 1) people first: quality of housing as quality of living, 2) achieving affordability and sustainability in housing, and 3) the right to housing: getting rid of the excuses not to guarantee it. ISHF 2022 offered a platform for almost 1000 registered participants representing different stakeholders of social housing, to take part in critical conversation, ask questions, find answers together, and moreover learn from each other. We surely think the festival reached its goals.

A dream come true

Five years ago in Amsterdam, we at ARA got a crazy idea that we wanted to apply for the International Social Housing Festival to Finland. The festival experiences from Amsterdam in 2017 and from Lyon in 2019 convinced us that Finland has also a lot to showcase and present to international guests. Another reason for our application was our wish to learn from others, as we can always do thing even better.

Over the past three years, the planning and execution of the festival have faced its ups and downs. The biggest challenges were the Covid pandemic and, most recently, the world’s political situation and Finland’s position as a neighbor of Russian. Despite the challenges, almost 1,000 participants from all over the world registered for the festival, which is a fantastic number of experts in the field of housing. We could not have done this without our awesome domestic and foreign partners who organized almost 80 events around the Helsinki capital area.

A warm thank you goes to all our partners: Housing Europe, the City of Helsinki as well as the domestic and foreign partners. Special thanks to Tapahtumantekijät (TT) for producing us a high-quality and diverse platform for learning, dialogue and, above all, encounters. For ARA as a state organization, the week was historic and strengthened our role as an executor of Finnish housing policy, also in the international context.

Best regards,

Sina, Jarmo and Helena

The Housing Finance and Development Centre of Finland (ARA), main organizer of ISHF 2022

The Housing Finance and Development Centre of Finland (ARA) team: Helena Berg (left), Jarmo Lindén (middle) and Sina Rasilainen (right).

Photo: Jesse Terho