Housing

Rebuilding Ukraine and fighting forced evictions: These projects will give you hope in 2024

Energiesprong’s project to slash building energy consumption by 80% in just a week is a winner in the World Habitat Awards alongside eviction resistance in Jakarta and efforts to rebuild Ukraine

fighting the housing crisis and evictions in Jakarta

A project to fight against evictions in Indonesia has changed regulatory powers in Jakarta and secured a top global housing prize. Image: World Habitat

Innovative projects to take on the housing and climate crises and rebuild Ukraine have come out on top in prestigious housing awards.

The annual World Habitat Awards toast some of the globe’s best efforts to build decent homes for everyone.

Energiesprong is among the two big winners. The retrofit project uses smart green technologies to reduce a building’s energy consumption by up to 80% in as little as seven days.

Change a Big Issue vendor’s life this winter by purchasing a Winter Support Kit. You’ll receive four copies of the magazine and create a brighter future for our vendors through 2024.

The second gold winner is a grassroots movement to fight forced evictions in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Other projects that secured a gong include efforts to convert abandoned buildings into temporary accommodation in Ukraine to support people displaced during Russia’s invasion.

Maimunah Mohd Sharif, executive director of organisers UN-Habitat and a final judge of the World Habitat Awards, said: “Both initiatives represent a strong innovative response to two overlapping challenges, including housing and climate change. Going beyond a vision of housing as four walls and a roof, they touch upon social justice, human rights and community empowerment.”

International non-profit World Habitat runs the awards alongside a housing branch of the United Nations UN-Habitat.

This year’s winner saw judges impressed by efforts to tackle both the housing and climate crises. 

Energiesprong's renovation work in Nottingham has been taking on the housing crisis
Energiesprong’s retrofit work has been slashing the energy consumption of homes in Nottingham. Image: Tracey Whitefoot

Energiesprong has transformed social housing in 10,000 projects across seven countries in Europe, including the UK and North America since 2011.

The innovative system uses prefabricated insulated wall and roof panels along with a range of smart green technologies to achieve a 70-80% reduction in a building’s energy consumption in between seven and 10 days.

There is a growing need to slash emissions from buildings in the race to net zero to tackle climate change. A quarter of the UK’s emissions are linked to the built environment.

World Habitat Awards honours rural housing projects in Chile
The Chilean government’s efforts to transform rural homes in the South American country impressed judges at the World Habitat Awards. Image: World Habitat

Meanwhile, Housing Rights in Jakarta gave residents in village communities the power to fight back against forced evictions and saw evicted families return to their homes as well as city-wide regulatory changes introduced.

David Ireland, chief executive of World Habitat, said: “This year’s gold award winners inspired us with their pioneering approaches to addressing the challenges of climate change and tenure insecurity, and we look forward to working with them this year.

“The Housing Rights in Jakarta project has managed to build the confidence of at-risk communities and equip them with the tools, knowledge and solidarity network they need to demand the housing rights they are entitled to.

“Energiesprong is a best-practice retrofit, which reaps the benefits of standardisation but is also flexible in product delivery. It offers social housing providers an innovative, fast and cost-effective solution for improving the energy efficiency of older buildings, which in turn benefits tenants financially and improves their quality of life.”

While these two projects scooped the top prize, several others were honoured in the silver and bronze categories.

A Chilean government project to support 40,000 people in rural communities by building or renovating 10,000 homes was also recognised as was affordable housing in both the German capital Berlin and for students in the pricey Swiss city of Geneva.

The UK’s first cohousing community for women, New Ground, was awarded a bronze prize for showcasing a ground-breaking model of community living during the housing crisis. 

The project is exclusively for women aged 50-plus and is intended to bring a solution to the linked issues of loneliness and isolation alongside the healthcare needs of an ageing population.

World Habitat Awards winner New Ground is taking on the housing crisis
London’s New Ground is the first cohousing community for women aged over 50 in the UK and could offer a blueprint for ways to live in later life. Image: World Habitat

The 25 flats, including 8 social housing units – in Chipping Barnet, North London – include shared spaces and activities and offer a blueprint for alternative ways to live in later life.

The DARAJA weather forecasting service also scooped bronze for preparing residents of informal settlements ahead of extreme weather events in Kenya and Tanzania.

The unique service provides regular, reliable weather information in accessible formats to protect communities in the African countries feeling the effects of the climate crisis.

Daraja won at the World Habitat Awards for taking on climate change
DARAJA gives communities in Kenya and Tanzania the tools to prepare for extreme weather events that are becoming more prevalent due to climate change. Image: World Habitat

The CO-HATY emergency housing project in Ukraine was also a bronze winner for offering a lifeline in a country grappling with the effects of an ongoing war and a housing crisis.

Converting abandoned buildings into temporary housing has already housed 640 people since the war started in 2022 after raising more than £1m to bring four buildings back into use.

This project is rebuilding Ukraine and has been honoured in the World Habitat Awards
The warzone in Ukraine has left a shortage of affordable housing so CO-HATY has been renovating abandoned homes like this one. Image: Bohdan Volynskyi

Project organisers Metalab and independent agency Urban Curators have ambitions to renovate seven buildings to scale up to 1,300 people.

Anna Pashynska, Metalab chief executive and co-founder of CO-HATY: “We are honoured to receive this recognition from the World Habitat Awards. Our grassroots action and the spaces we create go beyond building infrastructure. 

This project is rebuilding Ukraine and has been honoured in the World Habitat Awards
CO-HATY’s renovation work has provided homes for people like Liudmyla who have been displaced by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Image: World Habitat

“They help people to integrate into new communities and for industries to retain their workforces. This award is a testament to the resilience and ingenuity of the Ukrainian people.”

Do you have a story to tell or opinions to share about this? We want to hear from you. Get in touch and tell us more.

Support the Big Issue

For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
Vendor martin Hawes

Recommended for you

View all
Renters being forced to move house costs £550m per year: 'I'm always in fight or flight'
renters are paying half a billion pounds for unwanted house moves
RENTING

Renters being forced to move house costs £550m per year: 'I'm always in fight or flight'

Rents in UK are rising at highest rate in decades. Will they keep going up?
rents uk
Renting

Rents in UK are rising at highest rate in decades. Will they keep going up?

'It's an epidemic': 1.4 million workers trapped in insecure jobs are stuck in precarious rented homes
insecure work and insecure rented homes impact life decisions
Employment

'It's an epidemic': 1.4 million workers trapped in insecure jobs are stuck in precarious rented homes

It's five years and four PMs since Tory vow to ban no-fault evictions. Why are we still waiting?
Theresa May announced no-fault evictions would be scrapped
RENTING

It's five years and four PMs since Tory vow to ban no-fault evictions. Why are we still waiting?

Most Popular

Read All
Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits
Renters: A mortgage lender's window advertising buy-to-let products
1.

Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
2.

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over
next dwp cost of living payment 2023
3.

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know
4.

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know