While many Western countries reduced their supply of social rental housing since the 1990s, East Asian developmental regimes increased their numbers, especially in South Korea and later Taiwan.

Although the Netherlands has the highest percentage of social housing in the European Union, it experienced a decline from 40% of the national housing stock in 1985 to 30% in 2016. Now the housing associations,  the city of Amsterdam and the tenants strive again for a growth of the social housing sector.

From the 1960s through to the 1990s South Korea and Taiwan experienced high economic growth.   And in the late 1980s, as both countries started the introduction of democratization, bottom-up forces pushed their governments to play a bigger role in the housing sector.

South Korean started its first Public (permanent) rental housing project in 1989, and by 2010, the share of total public rental housing units rose to 6.3% of all housing stock(Kim, 2011). Since 2015, the term ‘Social Housing’ was institutionalized for the first time in Seoul city ordinance and as of may 2017, the ‘Social Housing’ provided by the social sector are around 400 units, apart from some 232 thousand public rental housing units.

And in Taiwan, since 2010, the strong, social rental housing movement has brought housing to the front of social struggles.  The current ruling party, the Democratic Progressive Party, has promised to increase the ratio of social rental housing stock from 0.08% to 5% from 2016 to 2024.

In this workshop South Korea and Taiwan will share their experiences of how they started social rental housing from ground zero. We will exchange these experiences against the background of a shrinking social housing sector and the recent plans for growth of social housing in Amsterdam. There are several questions up for discussion:

  1. Who should be the major provider of social rental housing – the government, the private sector, public corporations, tenant cooperatives?
  2. Where is the money to come from?
  3. Who has priority?  Should social housing only be offered to low-income people  or should it be extended to cover a mixed-income population?
  4. How can social acceptance of social rental housing be increased in a predominantly home owner society?
  5. What is the experience of the architect and can architecture play a role in increasing the acceptance of social housing?
  6. What experiences and lessons have South Korea, Taiwan and The Netherlands to learn from each other?



09:30 Introduction, welcome to Amsterdam and Dutch case

09:45 South Korean case

10:05 Taiwanese case

10:20 Architecture of social housing in The Netherlands and East Asia

10:50 Break

11:10 Discussion

  • Professor Marja Elsinga (TU Delft)
  • Professor Yi-Ling Chen (University of Wyoming, Visiting Scholar of the University of Amsterdam)
  • MVRDV architects

12:00 Conclusion

12:30 end


Jeroen van der Veer, Amsterdam Federation of Housing Associations (AFWC)


Kyungho Choe, director Seoul Social Housing Center

Mr. K. Choe is the director of Seoul Social Housing Center. He worked as a Senior Research Officer in the Embassy of Korea in the Hague and PhD researcher at OTB, TU Delft. He came to the Netherlands to learn about the Dutch experience of Social Housing with some doubt that actually it would be also possible in South Korea so soon. He is more than happy to actually witness and also participate in the development of the sector in South Korea, and to conclude that he can dismiss his doubt.

Peng Yang-Kae, General Secretary, The Organization of Urban Re-s Chairman, Social Housing Advocacy Consortium

Mr. Peng Yang-kae has been dedicated in the initiatives and organizational works of urban environment issues for a long period of time. More recently, he pays close attention to soaring housing price, real estate tax reform, social housing, housing policies and institutions, and participation in housing projects for disadvantaged groups.

Dick van Gameren

Combining his work as an architect with a professorship at the Delft University of Technology, Dick maintains a critical approach to design by lecturing, and publishing regularly as well as making this research tangible in his design leadership as a Mecanoo partner. Dick has a considerable range of projects in his portfolio including residential design, large scale town planning, laboratory, education and healthcare projects. At TU Delft, Dick leads an international education and research network which focuses on the problems of building affordable housing in rapidly expanding cities across Africa and Asia.

Jeroen Atteveld

Smart urban housing solutions and climate adaptation in the build environment are the leading themes in the work of Jeroen Atteveld (Heren 5 architects). Open minded and eager to learn he is looking for opportunities to contribute to a future proof city by developing an innovative and sustainable approach to our housing environment.

Marja Elsinga

Marja Elsinga is professor of Housing Institutions & Governance at the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment. She is leading the research programme “Housing in a changing society” and is supervising PhD-students in the Graduate School A+BE.

Yi-Ling Chen

Yi-Ling Chen is an associate professor in Global & Area Studies and Geography at the University of Wyoming. Inspired by Susan Fainstein’s work on Just Cities, Yi-Ling is visiting the Department of Human Geography, Planning, and International Studies at the University of Amsterdam to study social housing. Her published works are on housing, gender, urban movements, and regional development in Taiwan.

Hui-Hsin Liao (TW/NL)

Hui-Hsin Liao is an architect and senior project leader at MVRDV since 2005. She has been involved in national and international projects of various scales and scopes from competition phase through to the final design stage. Her experience covers a broad range of projects including research, exhibition, residential, museum, office and masterplan projects from competition to definitive design and is currently in charge of urban planning and building projects in Taiwan and other Asian countries.



Amsterdam Federation of Housing Associations (AFWC), Seoul Social Housing Center & Social Housing Advocacy Consortium


Date, time: Tuesday 20 June, 09:30 to 12:30 hrs

Location: Het Schip Museum, Oostzaanstraat 45, Amsterdam. Torenzaal

Fee:  Free, registration compulsory

Contact organizer: Jeroen van der Veer vdveer@afwc.nl

   Jeroen van der Veer