Rapid urbanization places great pressure on land markets and housing costs, and thus exacerbates housing shortages and socio-economic spatial segregation. Providing affordable, well-located housing at a scale commensurate with soaring demands is central to achieving the inclusive and sustainable cities envisioned in the New Urban Agenda. Although the size and overall characteristics of the housing sector varies markedly within and across countries, there is a common demand for integrated approaches (planning, financial, service delivery) that incorporate the provision of adequate, safe, and well-located affordable housing.

Land is one of the fundamental inputs to housing. The supply of land and its cost have a direct impact on the cost of housing. Thus, scarcity of land and particularly serviced land has a pervasive impact on the quality of life of households, society, the environment and the sustainability of cities. Moreover, affordable housing programs of significant scale have generated spatially segregated urban regions by locating the poor in areas where land is the cheapest: the urban periphery. Ensuring decent living conditions and economic opportunity to people, especially lower income households, however depends not only on the number of housing units that can be produced, but also on our capacity to realize affordable housing in well-connected areas within the city.

With an emphasis on experiences from early-urbanizing Latin America and some countries from Asia and Europe, this event focuses on programs, policies, and strategies that have developed in response to the housing affordability challenge. Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), is the most urbanized developing region in the world - 80 per cent of the population lives in cities. The numerous ways that the governments, institutions, and populations of the region have dealt with issues of affordable housing and land in a context of increasing urbanization now offer valuable lessons on this crucial issue. In addition, this history highlights the areas for improvement in New Urban Agenda, in particular social inclusion, and spatial and socio-economic segregation.

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Speaker: Cynthia Goytia

Cynthia Goytia is Head of the MSc. in Urban Economics at Torcuato Di Tella University in Buenos Aires, Argentina where she is also the head of the Urban Policy and Housing Research Center (CIPUV) - one of the most prestigious urban research centers in Latin America. She has a joint appointment at the Urban Economics and the Public Policy Graduate Programs.

She has developed a relevant and influential body of academic research on urban policies, housing and land markets, published in specialized publications and books, some of them recently released in Chinese. She holds a M.Sc. in Urban Economics and a PhD from the London School of Economics and Political Science. She was a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University in 2017 and has lectured at the Institute of Housing Studies in the Netherlands, the Cambridge University and LSE. She is a senior urban consultant to Argentina´s and Latin American governments, the World Bank, United Nations Inter-American Development Bank and CAF (Banca de Desarrollo de America Latina), and fellow to the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.