Bratislava, 13 October 2015-- The second OIKONET conference on the topic “Global Dwelling” was held in Bratislava, Slovakia, with the participation of UN-Habitat late last month. OIKONET is a network of 34 institutions from 29 countries -4 of them outside Europe- co-funded by the Executive Agency of Education, Audiovisual and Culture (EACEA) of the European Union. Its purpose is to study contemporary housing from a multidisciplinary and global perspective by encompassing the multiple dimensions which condition the forms of dwelling in today’s societies: architectural, urban, environmental, economic, cultural and social. “Platforms like OIKONET offer us a unique opportunity to both inform and be informed by the latest academic research on housing issues which can add real value to our own programming as well as to contemporary teaching and research practices”, says Gregor Herda of the UN-Habitat Housing Unit who participated in the conference presenting the emerging “Housing at the Centre” approach of UN-Habitat. The second OIKONET conference focused on regeneration strategies as mechanisms that are applied to improve the existing living conditions in urban areas around the world. Nowadays, various local and global factors cause the appearance of disadvantaged communities and declining urban areas worldwide. By building on existing local forces – involving all stakeholders and the local community in the process of finding solutions–, urban areas can unleash their endogenous regeneration potential. The conference discussed the implications of such integrated approaches based on the design and implementation of strategies for the regeneration of communities.
Researchers, lecturers, design studio instructors and practitioners presented case studies addressing regeneration practices all over the world, exploring methodologies for creating links between community-based research and innovative learning practices. UN-Habitat puts at the disposal of students and teachers participating in the OIKONET network resources to enrich the learning experience by connecting housing pedagogy to real issues facing communities, globally. In line with the OIKONET project, Habitat UNI, promotes cooperation between UN-Habitat and institutions of higher education, as well as facilitating exchange and cooperation among universities worldwide.