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Affordable housing initiative

The affordable housing initiative was announced in the Commission's renovation wave strategy for Europe, which aims to green buildings, create jobs and improve lives. This strategy intends to at least double renovation rates in the EU by breaking down long-standing barriers to energy and resource-efficient renovation as well as improving reuse and recycling. By 2030, the construction sector could see 35 million renovated buildings and up to 160,000 additional green jobs.

Context and objectives

The renovation wave will support new investments over a sustained period, starting with public and less efficient buildings. These will spur digitalisation and creating employment and growth opportunities across the renovation supply chain.  

As part of this strategy, the affordable housing initiative works to make sure social and affordable housing facilities also benefit from the renovation wave. It will guarantee local social and affordable housing projects’ access to necessary technical and innovation capacity and project support by

  • piloting 100 lighthouse renovation and construction districts with a smart neighbourhood approach focused on energy efficiency, liveability and innovation, also providing blueprints for replication to support other projects across Europe
  • mobilising cross-sectoral project partnerships and linking them to local actors, such as social economy entities, SMEs active in the construction or renewable ecosystems, local authorities and bodies, housing associations, investors and civil society 
  • promoting efficient access and use of innovative processes such as circular and modular building, production of renewable energy as well as engagement models to empower residents and local communities

The affordable housing initiative builds on the housing partnership of the urban agenda (2015-2018), the Committee of Regions' opinions on housing, the European Economic and Social Committee's opinions on housing, the European Parliament's resolution on maximising the energy efficiency of EU buildings (2020), the European Parliament's resolution on decent and affordable housing for all (2021) and the Council Recommendation on ensuring a fair transition towards climate neutrality (2021).

Related policies

The affordable housing initiative is a flagship of the New European Bauhaus (NEB). The core values of the new European bauhaus are sustainability, aesthetics and inclusiveness. In that regard, projects supported by the initiative combine a focus on the energy efficiency of buildings with sustainability, design, liveability, accessibility and affordability to ensure a fair green transition.

The initiative is in line with the European pillar of social rights under principle 19 ‘housing and assistance for the homeless’, as well as with the cohesion policy objectives for 2021-2027.

It further aligns with the cohesion policy as it supports locally-led development strategies and empowers local authorities in managing funds. The European regional development fund (ERDF) allocates 8% to strengthening sustainable urban development, supporting the cohesion policy's urban dimension. 

The affordable housing initiative is in line with several other EU-level actions and initiatives, including 

Calls delivering on the affordable housing initiative

Currently open calls


Ongoing projects and outcomes from previous calls

Lightouse districts under the affordable housing initiative

DistrictCity/localityCountryLink  to project EU funding programme
Āgenskalna priedesRigaLatviaSUPERSHINE Lighthouse project, RigaHorizon Europe
AnalipsiThessalonikiGreeceSHAPE social housing of the Most Vulnerable Group project, AnalipsiSingle Market Programme 
Arrondissement LeuvenLeuvenBelgiumSHAPE Community Land Trust model, LeuvenSingle Market Programme 
Barro do ChousoMatosinhosPortugalMatosinhos, Portugal - Prolight projectHorizon Europe
Besòs MaresmeBarcelonaSpainSHAPE Urban Regeneration Program, BarcelonaSingle Market Programme 
BocholdEssenGermanySHAPE 'Prima. Climate. Ruhrmetropole' project, EssenSingle Market Programme 
BoitoTriesteItalySUPERSHINE Lighthouse project, TriesteHorizon Europe
DonnerKaposvárHungarySHAPE project, KaposvárSingle Market Programme 
DorćolBelgradeSerbiaSUPERSHINE Lighthouse project, BelgradeHorizon Europe
DracevoSkopjeNorth MacedoniaSHAPE project, SkopjeSingle Market Programme 
El Palau + Madoz BuildingMataròSpainSHAPE Madoz Building project, MataròSingle Market Programme 
Etangs Noir BrusselsBelgiumSHAPE Community Land Trust project, BrusselsSingle Market Programme 
ExMarangoniRoveretoItalyRovereto, Italy - Prolight projectHorizon Europe
Gernika TEKGernika-LumoSpainGernika-Lumo, Spain - Prolight projectHorizon Europe
GroenlaanSchendelbekeBelgiumSHAPE project, SchendelbekeSingle Market Programme 
KadikoyIstanbulTurkeySUPERSHINE Lighthouse project, IstanbulHorizon Europe
KozaniKozaniGreeceKozani, Greece - Prolight projectHorizon Europe
KrizevciKriževciCroatiaSHAPE project, KriževciSingle Market Programme 
n/aHerningDenmarkSUPERSHINE Lighthouse project, HerningHorizon Europe
n/aSetubalPortugalSUPERSHINE Lighthouse project, SetubalHorizon Europe
Smart Block GeblergasseViennaAustriaVienna, Austria - Prolight projectHorizon Europe
NaujininkaiVilniusLithuaniaSHAPE project, VilniusSingle Market Programme 
Nooruse and Jaani StElvaEstoniaElva (EE) – Going digital - drOp projectHorizon Europe
Pedro Saputo-Margarita Xirgú and Emmeline PankhurstZaragozaSpainSUPERSHINE Spanish fellow district project, ZaragozaHorizon Europe
Portes du 18ème / Charles HermiteParisFranceSHAPE New National Urban Renewal Plan project, ParisSingle Market Programme 
Quartier Le ParcGuesnainFranceSHAPE project, GuesnainSingle Market Programme 
Santa AnaErmuaSpainErmua (ES) – Boosting district renovation - drOp projectHorizon Europe
Spine BiancheMateraItalyMatera (IT) – Inspiring through culture - drOp projectHorizon Europe

* 28 districts in September 2023


Affordable housing initiative info session presentations 25 June 2021

Affordable housing initiative presentation October 2023

Handbook of best practices: Delivering affordable ‘lighthouse districts’ in Europe - delivered by the European Affordable Housing Consortium (see project above, under Single market programme)


GROW-SOCIAL-ENTERPRISEatec [dot] europa [dot] eu (GROW-SOCIAL-ENTERPRISE[at]ec[dot]europa[dot]eu)