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Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs
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

District City/locality Country Link  to project  EU funding programme
Āgenskalna priedes Riga Latvia SUPERSHINE Lighthouse project, Riga Horizon Europe
Analipsi Thessaloniki Greece SHAPE social housing of the Most Vulnerable Group project, Analipsi Single Market Programme 
Arrondissement Leuven Leuven Belgium SHAPE Community Land Trust model, Leuven Single Market Programme 
Barro do Chouso Matosinhos Portugal Matosinhos, Portugal - Prolight project Horizon Europe
Besòs Maresme Barcelona Spain SHAPE Urban Regeneration Program, Barcelona Single Market Programme 
Bochold Essen Germany SHAPE 'Prima. Climate. Ruhrmetropole' project, Essen Single Market Programme 
Boito Trieste Italy SUPERSHINE Lighthouse project, Trieste Horizon Europe
Donner Kaposvár Hungary SHAPE project, Kaposvár Single Market Programme 
Dorćol Belgrade Serbia SUPERSHINE Lighthouse project, Belgrade Horizon Europe
Dracevo Skopje North Macedonia SHAPE project, Skopje Single Market Programme 
El Palau + Madoz Building Matarò Spain SHAPE Madoz Building project, Matarò Single Market Programme 
Etangs Noir  Brussels Belgium SHAPE Community Land Trust project, Brussels Single Market Programme 
ExMarangoni Rovereto Italy Rovereto, Italy - Prolight project Horizon Europe
Gernika TEK Gernika-Lumo Spain Gernika-Lumo, Spain - Prolight project Horizon Europe
Groenlaan Schendelbeke Belgium SHAPE project, Schendelbeke Single Market Programme 
Kadikoy Istanbul Turkey SUPERSHINE Lighthouse project, Istanbul Horizon Europe
Kozani Kozani Greece Kozani, Greece - Prolight project Horizon Europe
Krizevci Križevci Croatia SHAPE project, Križevci Single Market Programme 
n/a Herning Denmark SUPERSHINE Lighthouse project, Herning Horizon Europe
n/a Setubal Portugal SUPERSHINE Lighthouse project, Setubal Horizon Europe
Smart Block Geblergasse Vienna Austria Vienna, Austria - Prolight project Horizon Europe
Naujininkai Vilnius Lithuania SHAPE project, Vilnius Single Market Programme 
Nooruse and Jaani St Elva Estonia Elva (EE) – Going digital - drOp project Horizon Europe
Pedro Saputo-Margarita Xirgú and Emmeline Pankhurst Zaragoza Spain SUPERSHINE Spanish fellow district project, Zaragoza Horizon Europe
Portes du 18ème / Charles Hermite Paris France SHAPE New National Urban Renewal Plan project, Paris Single Market Programme 
Quartier Le Parc Guesnain France SHAPE project, Guesnain Single Market Programme 
Santa Ana Ermua Spain Ermua (ES) – Boosting district renovation - drOp project Horizon Europe
Spine Bianche Matera Italy Matera (IT) – Inspiring through culture - drOp project Horizon 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)