March 26, 2019
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Paris, Barcelona demand competencies to guarantee affordable urban housing

Paris, Jul 11 (efe-epa).- The City mayors of Paris and Barcelona on Wednesday issued a joint statement at the 2018 Fab City Summit, hosted by the French capital, to demand additional funds and competencies enabling their cities to offer affordable housing.

Paris mayor, Anne Hidalgo, and the mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, issued a joint statement in line with an international declaration against gentrification and speculation that next week Mayor Colau will present at the United Nations in New York. This initiative is backed by dozens of global cities such as London, Montevideo or Amsterdam.

Colau pointed out although some issues could be solved at a municipal level, such as her recent decision to set aside 30 percent of Barcelona's new apartment buildings for social housing purposes, others such as "the regulation of abusive rent increases" depended on national legislation.

This initiative seeks to demand additional funds from national governments that will enable them to challenge evictions from neighborhoods affected by real estate speculation. It is backed by the United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) network, a large international network spread across 100 cities from 127 countries, of which Mayor Colau is vice-president.

Barcelona's mayor stressed that, within the current real estate market, "the problem is neither tourism nor tourists, but the existence of illegal speculative activities generating affluence without taxation and by cheating the rules."

Mayor Hidalgo stressed the importance of cities working together and said she had been inspired by Barcelona's stance in facing common challenges such as climate change, the refugee issue and helping those lacking resources.

This Barcelona-Paris joint exchange took place during the third edition of the Fab City Summit, 2018, an event seeking transformation towards a more sustainable and accessible future for cities by becoming locally productive and globally connected through collaboration and disruptive technologies.

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