GhentA striking ad on the real estate site Immoweb already announced it: ‘project developer’ Real 5 wants to convert the Stadshal into 64 new homes. A playful campaign to draw attention to the housing crisis in Ghent.
Somewhat uncomfortably, Ghent mayor Mathias De Clercq (Open Vld), alderman Rudy Coddens (Vooruit) and alderman Hafsa El-Bazioui (Green) followed the tour of the Stadshal in Ghent on Friday. ‘Project developer’ Real 5 held a ‘viewing day’ through actor Johan Heldenbergh.
“We are going to renovate the city hall into 64 affordable homes,” said Heldenbergh. A group of Ghent housing cooperatives want to interpret the housing crisis with this playful – but at the same time serious – action. “Housing is a basic right. High prices push people into poverty. That has to come to an end.”
Noise from the Dutch
The fictitious houses cost 199,000 euros each, prices that have long since ceased to be a reality in Ghent. “We provide good sound insulation. This way you are protected against the noise of the Dutch and their bachelor parties”, Heldenbergh joked. “There is also good blackout, because apparently every building in Ghent has to be lit at night.”
The cooperatives ask the City of Ghent “to be taken seriously”. “We want to be seen as a full partner, just like the other project developers,” says Heldenbergh. “Ghent was once the city of the rebellious stropkes. If we want to reach high peaks again, the fight against poverty must start here.” None of the politicians present took the floor afterwards.
SERIES. ‘The Ghent Housing Crisis’. Minister Matthias Diependaele (N-VA) crosses swords with ships Tine Heyse (Groen): “40 percent of Ghent residents will never be able to buy a home”
SPECIAL LIVING. Nincy and Jonas live on the top floor of the highest apartment building in Ghent: “Friends cling to the outside wall”
HOUSEHUNTING. Mariakerke, in the outskirts of Ghent: “A house for 200,000 euros? It is possible, if you are willing to live in a less beautiful location”
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