April 26, 2019
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Cities must preserve affordable housing, Barcelona mayor tells UN

United Nations, Jul 16 (efe-epa).- The mayor of Barcelona spoke Monday at the United Nations on behalf of the world's large cities, demanding that they have more power to stop real estate speculators from driving up the cost of housing.

Ada Colau said that municipal governments need to be able to tax property speculation to generate resources for public housing and keep rents affordable.

She appeared at the UN Summit on Sustainable Development to present the statement "Cities for Housing," an agreement of all major cities to demand of their national governments more authority and resources in matters of housing in order to control speculation and gentrification.

Cities including Barcelona, New York, London, Berlin, Paris, Montreal, Montevideo, Amsterdam and Mexico City have agreed to take an international stand demanding global measures that will keep residents from being driven out of their neighborhoods.

Colau argued before the United Nations in favor of mixed solutions, "not purely governmental but not just out to make the biggest possible profits either," in order to expand the number of affordable homes, while promoting tax exemptions, subsidies and alternative models such as cooperatives and public/private projects.

The mayor spoke well of an urban planning model that avoids dependence on the private sector and allows a return "to accessible cities that people can walk or ride bicycles around and are equipped with efficient public transport systems."

The statement was worked up with the United Cities and Local Governments organization, the leading worldwide network of cities.

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