The United Nations defines "Right to Housing" as the right to live in spaces where safety, convenience, and minimum conditions for maintaining human dignity are met. 'Housing for All' which is the main theme of the 2020 World Habitat Day shows that guaranteeing the right to adequate housing is an important concept for implementing 'Cities for All' as incorporated in the New Urban Agenda.
In Korea, efforts to ensure housing right have long been discussed by the government and civil society. In particular, Leilani Farha's, Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing, visit Korea in 2018 was a significant turning point on domestic housing issues. Special Rapporteur's concern that Korea's housing rights seem to conflict with international human rights standards has stressed the necessity for seeking alternative approaches to support the notion of adequate housing for all in Korea.
August 13, The Seoul Housing & Communities Corporation (hereafter SH) that enhances the housing welfare of Seoul, the capital of Korea, and the Korea National Committee for UN-Habitat (hereafter KNCUH) signed a joint agreement under the sharing of the same vision to promote the right to adequate housing in Korea.
As part of this agreement, the two organizations and Woori Bank(partner organisation) have cooperatively planned an education program called "Sustainable Habitat-Urban School (hereafter SHUS)" to promote correct awareness among the younger generation and foster talented personnel specialised in housing rights.
For two months from September 24, 2020 to November 25, 2020, SHUS will provide 30 university students living or studying in Seoul with a variety of educational approaches, including lectures by experts on housing right issues, activities, research and investigation by teams, and solution forums on the domestic problems related to the right to housing, as well as field trips to the Jeju-island to conduct an on-site survey of regional housing rights cases.
The lectures include six storytelling themes about housing rights. First, the concept and issues of the 'right to adequate housing'. Second, the actual domestic condition of policy, institution, and law related to housing rights. Third, housing welfare for the politically, socially, and economically marginalized groups in urban areas. Fourth, urban planning and regeneration policies' impact on housing rights. Fifth, various approaches to housing issues through the social-economic framework; focusing on social innovation enterprises. Sixth, lastly, change of urban environment and future housing; reflecting the current COVID-19 situation.
Following these six lectures, participants will actively conduct team-oriented activities including research and investigation on housing rights issues and their results will be presented through the three series of housing right solution forums with talks, discussions, presentations, and mentoring workshops. The first forum is aimed at discovering some major domestic issues and disputed points on housing rights, and these topics will be analysed and investigated by each team through the second forum. Finally, during the third forum, each team's 'Solutions's based on their formats such as policy suggestions and developing social economic business models etc will be shared with others.
Filed trips and the on-site survey will be conducted twice; once in Seoul, and another in Jeju-island. The first trip will focus on how certain urban areas and groups of people become marginalised and controlled in a metropolitan urban area, also at the same time, what measures are taking place both at the governmental and nongovernmental level to deal with those circumstances and enhance the housing right for all.