The Vienna Model:

Housing for the 21st Century

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In this series we showcase highlights from The Vienna Model: Housing in the 21st Century exhibition and seminars held in Dublin in April 2019.

The events were co sponsored by Dublin City Council and the Housing Agency and hosted by the Dublin Housing Observatory. The exhibition returns to Dublin for July 2019 in the Civic Offices of Dublin City Council at Wood Quay.


Pictured: Grainia Long, Commissioner for Resilience, Belfast City Council, Dr Rory O'Donnell, National Economic Social Council and Michaela Kauer, Director Vienna House credit: Arthur Carron Photography

Podcast 1: What is the Vienna Model?

In this first podcast we feature Michaela Kauer, Director of the Vienna House in Brussels and Rory O'Donnell Director of NESC, the National Economic and Social Council in Ireland.

Michaela gives the background and history of the Vienna Housing Model and why Vienna sees housing as a human right and also why the city is so keen to export its ideas on public housing to other parts of Europe. Over 60% of people in Vienna live in public housing, renting homes with secure tenure and affordable prices.

In his response Rory O'Donnell explores the opportunities and challenges the Vienna Model presents to Dublin and Ireland and looks at how a massive investment in public and affordable housing could be funded.

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“we have a highly regulated rental system. Tenants are protected better and better each year.

If we acknowledge the fact that the market is not working in the housing sector - it's as simple as that -the market is not working for people.”

Michaela Kauer - Vienna House


Listen to our interview with Michaela Kauer HERE

Pictured are: Prof Michelle Norris, UCD, Dr Rory O'Donnell, Director BESC, John Coleman, CEO, Land Development Agency, Ailish Comford, Fair Rent Homes, Jim Baneham, Housing Agency and David Silke - image credit Arthur Carron Photography

Podcast 2: How do we create affordable housing?

In this podcast, the second in the series, you can hear Irish voices exploring how we create affordable housing in Ireland. You hear Jim Baneham, of the Housing Agency, describing what the cost rental model is and how it can work, as well as the first pilot using this model.

Since Jim Baneham talks of the critical importance of land you then hear John Coleman from the new agency, the Land Development Agency (LDA) exploring the role of the LDA and how it is seeking to ensuring public land is used to achieved quality housing. Professor Michelle Norris, a social scientist from UCD who is an expert in housing policy and in particularly social housing, then shared her comparative research between Ireland and Austria so we have a better understanding of how both systems work and what we, in Ireland, can learn from Austria.


Listen to our interview with Dr Dáithí Downey of the Dublin Housing Observatory, on the cost rental model, HERE

Pictured: Dr Mel Nowicki (left), Oxford Brooks University, Daithi Downey, Dublin City Housing Observatory , David Silke, Housing Agency, Pamela Connolly, Dublin City Planning Excutive and Padraig Flynn, SOA Co-Housing - image credit: Arthur Carron Photography

Podcast 3: Re-imagining Ballymun

As part of The Vienna Model showcase the exhibition went to the Rediscovery Centre in Ballymun and two days of seminars were held exploring the themes around housing and urban regeneration.

In this podcast we've brought together some of the voices; Dr Sarah Miller, the scientist heading the Rediscovery Centre, Pamela Connolly, a Dublin town planner for the area, Robert Murphy, the chair of Ballymun 4 Business, and Padraig Flynn of SOA Self Organised Architecture who presented on co-housing models.


Listen to our interview with Mark O’Brien of Axis Arts Centre Ballymun, on how arts help shape the community, HERE


“why can’t it be an equal city, why can’t we have fairness?”

Rita Fagan


Pictured: Rita Fagan, Alan Smyth, Sean O'Connor , Stuart Fraser, Margaret Geraghty, Daithí Downey - image credit: Arthur Carron Photography

Podcast 4: Visions for the Future

In this podcast you hear Eilish Comerford, a community worker from St Michael's Family Resource Centre in St Michael's Estate who is also part of a grassroots activism network around housing. Eilish talks of the need for new funding sources to ensure the affordability of these new cost rental homes planned for St Michael's Estate and we hear from the European Investment Bank on its role as a potential funding source to secure affordability housing.

We also hear from David Joyce, a solicitor who works with Mercy Law Resource Centre, who works in the field of housing and homelessness, and is himself from the traveller community.

Cormac Murphy is the Head of the EIB here and he described the new Land Development Agency, the LDA as a game changer in providing affordable housing. Ireland, he says, has a profile with just 10% social housing and that's out of step with other European cities and this change in models and funding is critical to making an attractive, sustainable city that works for all.

Rita Fagan, a community activist, who is also with the St Michael's Regeneration Team, made the case for a fairer, more equal city and for commitment and action to provide fair and equitable housing for people in the city. 'Who gets to live in the city?' she asked and pointed to places like The Liberties, where she comes from, where local and long rooted communities are being replaced by a transient community of student accommodation and hotels.

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“We stigmatised those who live in social housing.. we stigmatised people who come from council estates, I grew up in a council estate ...and people who are now managing have bought into that stigma.”

David Joyce - Mercy Law Resource Centre


Listen to our interview with Karin Ramser, of the Vienna Community Housing Authority, mentioned in podcast 4, HERE


Podcast 5: Karin Ramser

In this interview, Karin Ramser, Director of the City of Vienna’s Community Housing (Wiener Wohnen) talks to Helen Shaw about Vienna's history of social and public housing (Gemeindebau) and how it's seen as a social good, and an integral part of the city's approach to creating a just, equitable and peaceful community. Karin explains that in Vienna someone's address can not tell you how much they earn or what social class they are. ‘We don’t have areas in Vienna where, as a woman, you are afraid to go when it’s dark.’

Karin's office looks after 220,000 flats, over half a million people, in the city and she explains why, for nearly 100 years now, public housing is so important to Vienna City. Vienna is one of the fastest growing cities in Europe and is heading back to 2 million people in a few years time. Helen Shaw talked to Karin at the December 2018 Housing for All conference in Vienna on social and affordable housing in Europe, when Vienna hosted over 300 people from 39 countries and showcased its affordable housing philosophy. Irish delegates from Dublin City Council attended and that prompted the April exhibition and seminars in Dublin.

The Vienna Model exhibition has now returned to the Civic Offices of Dublin City Council for the month of July 2019.



For more on the Vienna Model and Dublin Housing visit