Internationalising housing education: some examples from a changing Cuba

Adapted housing for older people in Old Havana, Cuba: Shared patio leading to individual apartments with elevator access, and support staff on site
Adapted housing for older people in Old Havana, Cuba

Cuba always seems to be on the cusp of change but the recent moves towards normalisation of political relations with the USA could well herald rapid and turbulent change for the country’s housing system as well as for wider economic development.

Professor Isobel Anderson from Stirling University has recently completed collaborative research on the sustainability of housing systems in the UK and Cuba, which incorporated the experience of tutoring on the Masters in Housing Studies programme in Havana. Development of a module on UK and European Housing contributed to the Cuban programme being reaccredited as excellent in 2015.

International and national research findings also enrich the content of the MSc/Diploma in Housing Studies at Stirling University, which was commended in its 2015 teaching and learning review for its flexible approach of blending campus based and online learning for busy practitioners.

Many of the Cuban students were housing and architecture specialists working for the City Historian’s Office which oversees the integrated renewal of the historic centre of Havana City, where adapted housing for older people has been incorporated into the residential aspect of regeneration.

The comparative research also examined the challenges of sustainable regeneration of Havana’s ‘Malecón’ sea front, including strategies for resilience to cyclones and flooding.

The UK-Cuba exchanges found significant differences, but also some important similarities in the historical development of social housing in the two countries. Though sustainability of a social housing sector faced significant challenges in both countries, practitioner innovation drove creative solutions for each context. The project aims to build continuing collaboration across the two centres for Housing Studies. Places are still available for our 14 September start at Stirling University.

Further information is available from Professor Isobel Anderson:

More information on the MSc/Diploma in Housing Studies is available here.

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