For 10 years, the Urban Renovation Programme in France has spent €20 billion to demolish 120,000 units and to build 100,000, therefore, it is costing €15 billion to lose 20,000 dwellings. At the same time, 2 million people are looking for social housing. So why are they spending money to demolish?

The European Parliament Gypsum Forum was created in 2012 for the promotion of sustainable construction and renovation, with the aim of keeping resources in use for as long as possible. The construction industry is a vital component of growth in Europe where the building stock is significant and demolition is not always the best option. Sustainable renovation will become a key policy issue to address in the years to come for enhancing the sustainability of historic buildings and architectural heritage whilst responding to the needs of an ageing population. The Forum will give a vision and a roadmap for achieving sustainable construction step-by-step throughout the construction supply chain.

The Forum is exploring transformation and renovation to solve the housing crisis; architecture that is holistic, generous and innovative. By providing new life to existing buildings, architects will be in a position to improve the quality of the buildings and their occupants.

The renovation sector, however, needs new and specialised skills. According to the statistic drafted by the European Centre for Professional Training, the construction sector represents just over 6.73% of jobs in Europe. In the field of construction, the new jobs that are to be created mainly concern technician and management positions, focusing on the buildings’ physics and materials. As Gypsum is quite a low-carbon material compared to other materials, it provides opportunity for efficient buildings.

Eurogypsum, the European Plaster and Plasterboard Manufacturers, manages the Forum. An industry which covers the whole lifecycle of products and solutions for construction, Eurogypsum has the expertise to provide a framework for policy discussion on sustainable construction.

Learn more about affordable solutions to overcome the challenges in urban housing by watching the Forum’s video report here.