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New beginnings: paving the way towards sustainable and affordable housing for all

Posted on 19-07-2021

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Contemporary times have shown us that telecommuting is something that is here to stay. And here we are, in front of our screens, taking the first steps into what will definitely be one of the most exciting journeys we will ever undertake.
Finally, after a competitive and exhaustive recruitment process, composed of several months of waiting, a dose of stress, a tablespoon of excitement, and a myriad of desires, objectives, and goals, the RE-DWELL network is officially launched; by incorporating a team of avid early-stage researchers and I'm part of it. The squad is now complete, and a series of introductory sessions are the backdrop to meet each other, identify affinities and envisage potential synergies. 

RE-DWELL project contends an enticing premise under its title, at least this is how I perceived it from the very first time I read about it. It's inviting us to re-think how we are producing and shaping the built environment and its most valuable ingredient, housing. To re-evaluate the level of effectiveness of current policies and strategies of housing provision, and to re-connect with civil society, communities, and everyone that co-habits in modern-day urban agglomerations. To do so, we have the best human resources available and the collaboration of superb partners in academia and industry. Likewise, the support of an ambitious project like Horizon 2020 and the leverage of being part of a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative training network. 
As part of the challenging exercise of producing knowledge under the limitations that living in the post-pandemic world supposes, we are invited to participate in a kick-off session. A meeting that despite lacking physical interaction, didn't fail to deliver the most important feature when a group of interesting minds convenes: dialogue and effective communication, exchange of ideas, points of view, and collaboration. Personally, I was truly amazed by the set of skills, experience, and capacities gathered in my fellow ESRs, supervisory panel, and secondments representatives. 

By making the most out of the tools available, we were able to produce mind maps and diagrams intertwining the key concepts that serve as the cornerstone of our approach, i.e., affordability, sustainability, and transdisciplinarity. A first attempt to gauge the countless possibilities for producing cooperation and collaboration between our individual projects and the common aims that we all share. I’m thrilled to imagine the enriching conversations and projects that will bring about the workshops, conferences, and summer schools scheduled in the coming years. Current travel restrictions and a visit that had been postponed for several years have left me stranded in Colombia, from where, despite the 8510 km that separate Bogotá from Barcelona, I was able to participate in these meetings (thank you very much broadband and Microsoft Teams). I hope that next time we'll meet in person in Lisbon (and not having to get up at 3 am to attend one of the training sessions that unfortunately wasn't scheduled in the afternoon).
I am convinced of the immense potential of this project that just started, the possibilities are infinite, comparable to our ambitions. There is a lot to be done, but we have the best team to make it happen. 

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