The COVID-19 pandemic has accentuated a global need for affordable housing solutions. It has also raised questions about some commonly accepted practices around housing, namely density, reliance on public transportation networks, and the financial resilience of business propositions reliant on on-time payments by tenants. Acknowledging the challenges faced in this sector, this year’s edition of UN-Habitat’s Urban October centers around the theme Housing For All: A Better Urban Future. The Urban Innovations Working Group at School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University seeks to contribute to this effort, by bringing experts in the field to discuss this topic with students.

We have organized a panel discussion titled: Rethinking affordable housing post COVID-19? The panel will be held virtually via zoom, on Thursday October 15th between 1:00pm to 2:30pm EST. We have a panel of five speakers for the event:

1. David Smith, Founder and CEO of the Affordable Housing Institute
2. Marco López-Silva, Founding Partner and Director of Fundación IDEA (leading think tank in Mexico City)
3. Richard Koss, Chief Research Officer at Recursion Co and Professor of Affordable Housing Finance at SIPA
4. David Cleghorn - Chief Housing Officer for HELP USA
5. Giulia Lavagna- Associate Human Settlement Officer, Land, Housing, and Shelter Section | UN-Habitat, Nairobi

The panel will be moderated by Professor Paul Lagunes, Associate Professor on Urban Policy at Columbia University.

The panel will consist of a 7-10 minutes presentation by each guest speaker on their take on the topic and how their organization is working to solve the new challenges the pandemic has brought to the fore. This will be followed by a Q&A discussion with students (total duration of the event: one and half hour).

Names and Titles of Speakers

Giulia, Lavagna, Associate Human Settlement Officer, UN-Habitat;
David, Smith, Founder and CEO, Affordable Housing Institute;
Marco, López-Silva, Founding Partner and Director, Fundación IDEA;
David, Cleghorn, Chief Housing Officer, HELP USA;
Richard, Koss, Affordable Housing Finance Columbia University, Chief Research Officer, Recursion Co;
Paul, Lagunes, Associate Professor, Columbia University

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