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DPU partner 'Public Works' wins Gold Award at World Habitat Awards 2021

16 December 2021

Public works is a research-based studio, co-founded by DPU alumna Abir Saksouk-Sasso and Nadine Bekdache. . The DPU are excited to announce that its housing rights project, the Housing Monitor, has been named a Gold Award Winner in this year’s World Habitat Awards.

Lebanese housing policy provides little protection to city dwellers, meaning more than half the population of Beirut lacks housing security. Lebanon’s economic collapse and the Beirut port explosion have exacerbated the housing crisis and left low-income renters open to poor living conditions, rent hikes and illegal evictions. Housing Monitor is a housing rights project run by Public Works Studio, which uses a hotline and an online reporting tool to monitor and respond to housing injustices and violations, including evictions. It is mainly operational in Beirut; nonetheless, it is expanding to cover other Lebanese cities. 

The Housing Monitor was supported by the The RELIEF Centre, where DPU's Camillo Boano works as Co-I, which aims to speed up transitions to sustainable, prosperous societies in the context of mass displacement, to improve the quality of people's lives. The DPU, in the remit of the RELIEF Centre, partnered the Public Works Studio to study the effects of real estate policy and the financialisation of housing markets, which have resulted in the eviction and displacement of the most vulnerable social groups in Beirut turning the capital city into an exclusive, unjust and vulnerable place. The RELIEF Centre supported the development of the reporting mechanism, as well as previous housing investigations.

The RELIEF Centre helped develop the platform and assisted in training and the development of reseach findings on displacement and housing (read more on DPU Blog on the collaboration here). In the second phase of the project, the RELIEF Centre helped create a legal task force and the expansion of the local coalition.

The World Habitat Awards are organised by World Habitat in partnership with UN-Habitat.