The City of Prague moves closer to the construction of its own housing stock with new development guidelines.
The City of Prague, which has long suffered from a shortage of affordable housing, has approved a document entitled “Investor Specifications for City Housing Development Projects in Prague”, which summarizes the parameters for the construction of high quality, city-owned rental housing. The guidelines were created in cooperation with the Prague Development Company (PDS) and the Prague Institute of Planning and Development (IPR Prague). They are binding for all city organizations and are recommended for all municipal districts.
The lack of affordable housing in Prague was the impetus for the creation of the PDS, which will be responsible for preparing projects that focus on rental housing. As there are only 31,000 apartments currently under city ownership, one of the tasks of the newly-created organization is to expand Prague’s city-owned housing stock. However, prior to the publication of the Investor Specifications for City Housing Development Projects in Prague, the city lacked a document that would set forth standards for the development of this type of housing.
Petr Hlaváček, Deputy Mayor for Spatial Development and the Land Use Plan, says: “The Investor Specifications for City Housing Development Projects defines our common view of the development of city-owned rental housing. As a long-term investor, we prepare economical yet high-quality projects that support social cohesion. We put great emphasis on the overall urban planning solution, representative architecture, public spaces, and landscape design.”
The document deals with general requirements for the projects, such as construction costs and the sizes and standards of the units. However, it also contains more detailed parameters, such as the siting of the buildings, their architecture, and parking.
Adam Zábranský,Prague City Councilor for Housing and Transparency, says: “Thanks to the approval of the Investor Specifications, the city will not have to start from scratch, coming up with the layout and composition of individual apartments for each new apartment building. This will help speed up the preparation of projects. The standards may change over time, but the important thing at the moment is that the city has a clear idea of the type of housing it wants to build.”
Petr Urbánek,Director of the PDS, says: “In the preparation and execution of investments, public authorities must strive for a long-term view and think in terms of decades. The primary priority for the City of Prague, and consequently for the PDS, must be the economic efficiency of the preparation, execution, use, and future modifications of the projects. The template offered in the Investor Specifications is a good guide and useful aid to drawing up tailor-made specifications for each individual project, taking into account its size, location and the preferences of the investor – in our case, the city itself.”
Ondřej Boháč, Director of IPR Prague, says: “Until now, Prague did not have document that would clearly define the specific requirements of the city for new housing developments. That is why, in the initial stages of its creation, we drew primarily on the experience of foreign cities. For example, we drew inspiration from similar standards used in Munich, Brussels and Glasgow – cities that are actively involved in the construction of their own housing.”
The PDS was established by the City of Prague on June 1, 2020. Its main tasks include the valorization of the city’s real estate assets and the preparation of projects focusing on city-owned rental housing. PDS has been given responsibility for the management of approximately 400,000 m2 of city-owned land, earmarked for the construction of 6,000–8,000 flats over the next 10 years.