Podcasts | June 23, 2023

A century old model for affordable social housing with Michaela Kauer

Isaac Silk
ImpactAlpha Editor

Isaac Silk

David Bank catches up with Michaela Kauer of the city of Vienna to talk about that city’s model of social, affordable housing. Plus, host Brian Walsh has the headlines.

Follow all of ImpactAlpha’s podcasts on Apple, Spotify or wherever you listen.

A social innovation more than 100 years old captured the imagination of the Connecting Capital to Communities gathering this week at the Salzburg Global Seminar. Especially since The New York Times called nearby Vienna a “renter’s utopia,” delegations have descended on the city to learn from the city’s approach to social housing, which dates from 1919.

The flood is likely to increase after Monocle magazine this week named Vienna the world’s most liveable city. “Keep control of your land. Never sell your municipal housing stock. Never allow yourself to sell your cooperative housing,” Kauer, a housing expert and the city’s representative to the European Union in Brussels, advises in this week’s podcast. “Keep this going and running and even enhancing, and protect your tenants.”

 About three-quarters of the city’s two million residents are renters, mostly in publicly owned municipal housing and privately owned cooperative housing. Rents average about 12% of families’ income, compared to about 30% in the U.S., an all-time high. Solutions in housing, and in food and water, were the focus of the Salzburg gathering, which was sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (ImpactAlpha was the seminar’s media partner and will feature additional podcast interviews in coming weeks).

“We always think that housing is not only a home with four walls and a roof,” Kauer says. “Housing is the center of your life.”