External Event: Innovation & Excellence Lecture: Innovation in Housing – a force for wider benefits?


Join the University of Stirling on Tuesday 10 October for the fourth lecture in our Innovation and Excellence series marking the University’s fiftieth year: Innovation & Excellence Lecture: Innovation in Housing – a force for wider benefits?

A quality home is not only a fundamental human right, but crucially underpins our well-being and capacity to live our lives and contribute to society. Throughout history, societies have struggled with the complex challenges of achieving a housing system that fairly meets the needs of all. Today however, we are in the midst of one of the most pressing and complex housing crises ever faced. Housing problems faced across the economic and demographic spectrums have never been more in the news and mass media, nor caused such intergenerational tension. Current pressures affect all phases of the life course, all tenures, and both urban and rural contexts – albeit in differing and complex ways. The housing system can both contribute to, and ameliorate, poverty and inequality – with tensions between ‘winners and losers’ in different market and policy scenarios. Our most vulnerable groups (older households, low income households, disabled people and individuals with complex health and social care needs) have the fewest choices and often experience the poorest outcomes. Yet – a vibrant housing system is needed to sustain employment mobility and economic development. The governance of housing has become increasingly complex as tenure patterns, legal and financial mechanisms, and the profile of stakeholders providing housing and services has evolved. More than just bricks and mortar, the nature of home impacts on identity, community and the basis for well-being, quality of life and contribution to economy and society.

So what’s needed for our future housing system? And how can we best ensure the housing sector unlocks the potential for better economic and social outcomes? In a time of political unrest and uncertainty we must not lose sight of the importance of the housing sector. Our diverse and experienced panel along with key note speaker Richard Jennings of Places for People will present their ideas on housing futures and explore new and innovative ways of ensuring housing underpins wider benefits in health, social care, economic development and sustainability of our communities. Chaired by Professor Isobel Anderson from University of Stirling, our keynote presentation and panellists will prompt a lively Q&A session and debate with our audience.

Key Note Speaker: Richard Jennings, Places for People Panellists Susan Aktemel, Founding Director of Homes for Good Susan Aktemel is Founding Director of Homes for Good (Scotland) CIC, and Homes for Good Investments Ltd. She is also an experienced property developer and has combined these skills with her commitment to social change to create Scotland’s first social enterprise letting agency and social landlord operating solely in the private rented sector. Prior to this she spent 18 years creating and growing Impact Arts, which is now a leading Scottish arts charity. Since 2014 she has raised over £8.5million in social investment for Homes for Good, which was named Social Enterprise of the Year 2016 in the Scottish Business and Social Enterprise Scotland Awards. Susan is also a director Blochairn Housing Co-operative, and a Business Fellow at Strathclyde University. Petra Biberbach, Chief Executive, PAS Petra Biberbach is Chief Executive of award-winning national charity, PAS. With a career spanning public, private and third sector, Petra brings a wealth of expertise to the post in the fields of planning, sustainable development, renewable energy, community engagement and research. Petra is serving her second term as a board member of the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority and was elected as Convenor of the Planning Committee. She is the Vice Chair of LINK Group and a non-executive director at Zero Waste Scotland. Petra served on the Independent Review of the Scottish Planning System. Pat Ritchie, Chief Executive, Newcastle City Council Pat joined Newcastle City Council as Chief Executive in 2013. Since then, she has delivered a programme of transformational change within the organisation as well as working with local and regional partners to create the conditions for sustained economic growth. She is also lead Chief Executive for Transport in the North East Combined Authority. Pat plays a role nationally on transformation and service reform, co-chairing the independent Service Transformation Challenge Panel in 2014. A former Chief Executive of the Homes and Community Agency (HCA) where she led delivery of the Affordable Homes Programme, decent homes, and locally led economic development. Before joining HCA, Pat was Assistant Chief Executive and Director of Strategy at One North East, leading the Regional Economic Strategy and action plan, as well as leading development of the Objective 2 programme for the North East. Prior to this, she was Deputy Chief Executive of The Wise Group, a prominent employment and training company in Scotland and the North of England. Jim Strang, Chief Executive, Parkhead Housing Association Jim has been in the sector for over 30 years and has held a number of senior Local Authority posts in the west of Scotland. He has been on the Board of Barrhead Housing Association and the John Wheatley College and has been a visiting lecturer in Housing Management at Glasgow Metropolitan College. He the former Chair of the Scotland Board of the CIH Scotland, a Fellow of and the incoming Vice President of the Chartered Institute of Housing. He is also the Chief Executive of Parkhead Housing Association Ltd, an RSL based in the East End of Glasgow.