The World Habitat Awards 2018 have already shown us a world full of possibilities. It is impossible not to be heartened by the amazing work happening across the world to give people their right to housing. We had over 200 submissions from 52 different countries. If we had it in our power to give every one of them a prize, we would! This is why this year we introduced the ‘Commended Projects’ category. The remaining entries are currently undergoing a thorough examination which will result in our ten winners and finalists.
As usual we saw a fantastic spread of activity. Inspiring individuals are working together in many different roles – within communities, local and national governments, charities big and small – to find solutions to some of our most difficult housing challenges.
We’ve seen again, as we do each year, that our housing problems are shared. Contexts may differ, but across the world people are faced with questions like, ‘how do we help people recover from natural disasters, conflict and the impact of climate change?’ and ‘how do we empower ourselves and each other to assert our right to safe, secure housing?’. Multiple solutions are emerging and there is much to learn from each other.
What is also clear is that we have a long way to go. The awards do not just highlight solutions, they show us the extent of the struggle and the conditions people are finding themselves in. There are still millions living in unacceptable situations for human beings. In poorly built homes, without homes at all, on flood plains and in disaster zones, in danger and in fear. The World Habitat Awards are more than just about awarding the most successful solutions. The journey also shows us that no matter how bad your starting point, solutions are possible when people work together.