The role of key civil society groups in the Renovation Wave
4 March 2021
4 March 2021, Brussels – In the framework of the Civil Society Days, the International Union of Property Owners (UIPI), the Architects’ Council of Europe (ACE) and the EESC section for Transport, Energy, Infrastructure and the Information Society (TEN) organised on 4 March 2021 an online workshop on the role of key civil society groups in the Renovation Wave strategy with over 100 attendees.
The workshop demonstrated that a Renovation Wave in Europe cannot be achieved without the mobilisation of key civil society groups, notably representatives of owners and architects. Speakers explained how these groups play a crucial role in engaging, advising and supporting citizens in their renovation journey, and ensuring that quality projects are delivered. They are also key partners for public authorities at all governance levels.
Speakers also presented very concrete examples of tools developed by civil society groups: mobile applications, professional software; public platforms, information hubs. Raising citizens awareness about the challenges and opportunities relating to building renovation is crucial, if we really want to accelerate the renovation rates in Europe. Public authorities and civil society groups have a key role to play here.
The workshop was also an opportunity to debate policy initiatives and instruments that can best support the mobilisation of civil society. The New European Bauhaus initiative, whose co-design phase is currently in full swing, can be seen as an interesting and promising initiative in this regard – it can contribute to sensitise citizens, collect their ideas, and be a platform to imagine the built environment of tomorrow.
Two principles for building renovation are of particular importance: affordability and quality of projects. These principles are not contradictory, they can be achieved at the same time. A holistic approach to renovation is needed: an approach that beyond energy efficiency and economic savings seeks to improve well-being and comfort of occupants, as well as the heritage and use values of building.
It is important to set achievable policy objectives that are fit for purpose. Ambition is valuable but it should not remain dead letter! This will impact on the lives of citizens and professionals that we represent, both our associations are used to work together and can help to promote a better renovation wave as we can assist, support and help our members, based on trust and common effort and dialogue.
Main take away messages
About the 2021Civil Society Days
The virtual #CivSocDays 2021 (1-5th March) took place at a crucial time for Europe and its citizens, namely amid the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and towards the recovery from this unprecedented crisis. This key civil society event bring together Citizens Organisations and EU Institutions to debate “A Sustainable Recovery for the Future of Europe’s citizens”. Europe must ensure that the green and digital transitions are built on the values of solidarity and human rights, social justice, equality, and on education, culture, migration, democracy, participation and entrepreneurship.