Social Housing and Rapid Digitalisation: Working Together (and Apart)

Summer School for Young and Early Career Professionals

organized by
Prof. Dr. Jan Üblacker and Laura Lünenschloss, EBZ Business School
Dr. Anita Blessing and Joost Nieuwenhuijzen, European Federation for Living

5th to 12th July, 2021

Social and affordable housing providers around Europe are dealing with rapidly changing conditions. Pressures to increase efficiency have them working in new ways, propelled by the rapid pace of prop-tech innovation. In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the digitalisation of many of their organisational functions and services has sped up. Multiple aspects of housing professionals’ work and daily lives have been brought online, rapidly altering communications with colleagues, partners and tenants. Amidst hopes that our patterns of living will soon normalise, the year 2021 has many of us asking if higher levels of remote working and digital service provision are becoming the new normal.

This 2021 edition of the Summer School for Young and Early Career Housing Professionals was delivered through an interactive online platform in sessions designed to fit around other work or activities. It brought our students into discussion with leading experts to learn about emerging practices in digitalising housing and community services to meet the needs of diverse communities, and to empower their residents to help each other. Students worked together to learn how organizational practices are changing around Europe, and to critically evaluate digital and smart home innovations by identifying the risks they pose – as well as the benefits they offer – for housing providers, tenants and communities. Our highly interactive programme combined lectures and discussions with small team collaborations, enabling students to learn from their international peers and establish networks despite lockdowns. Teams researched, discussed and then presented recommendations for challenges relating to digital inclusion, community capacity building, smart home technology, new income streams for social housing, and remote working.


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