Dignified Housing (in Times of Pandemic and Beyond)

Kathrin Golda-Pongratz

Originally published in The Conversation España.

To prevent the pandemic from further spreading, governments in recent weeks started to enforce lockdowns and ordered people to #stayhome or #quedateencasa. All of a sudden, we have become involuntarily confined to our home, regardless of its characteristics, number of inhabitants, or location.

Few moments in contemporary history have made us appreciate so acutely what it means to have good quality housing. Now that we are all mandated to remain within our homes, we cannot escape, go out to work, walk, have a coffee, exercise, play in the park, read on a bench, talk, discuss, or think. All activities have to take place within these four walls, in constant proximity to those whom we share our home with, or in absolute solitude.

It has never been more imperative to reflect on the human right to adequate housing (set out in Article 25.1 of the Declaration of Human Rights), what “adequate housing” really is and how much it contributes in terms of quality of life; what it means to have a spacious and well-proportioned home surrounded by nature, with natural light, good ventilation and an outdoor space, a balcony, a garden or a roof terrace; and what a privilege it still is to live like this in the twenty-first century!

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Translation: Sigrid Ehrmann
Photography: Kathrin Golda-Pongratz