Prof. Lindsay Flynn, Associate Professor of Political Science and Principal Investigator of the PROPEL project; Credit: University of Luxembourg recently had the opportunity to speak with Prof. Lindsay Flynn, Associate Professor of Political Science and Principal Investigator of the PROPEL project at the University of Luxembourg, about housing policy research and practice in the Grand Duchy.

More specifically, Prof. Lindsay Flynn discussed the "Housing Day 2023" conference held on the University of Luxembourg's Belval campus earlier this month, as well as the research project "PROactive Policymaking for Equal Lives" (PROPEL) and, more generally, housing trends and issues in Luxembourg. Please tell us a bit about your role as the Principal Investigator of the PROPEL research project, as well as the work carried out by your team in the area of housing.

Prof. Lindsay Flynn: PROPEL examines the opportunities and challenges that people face in the housing market and how each part of society, like younger and older generations, navigate those challenges. It also examines the ways that government policies affect different opportunities, like the ability to buy a home. As a team, we tackle each of these topics with many different strategies. For instance, we compare the policies of different countries, we analyse data about housing inequalities and we collect our own data through surveys, interviews and focus groups. As the Principal Investigator of the project, I coordinate each part of the project and help direct and mentor a great group of bright young researchers. You recently organised a conference dedicated to housing in Esch-Belval. What were some of the main research findings or solutions presented at this conference?

Prof. Lindsay Flynn: "Housing Day 2023: Where Practice and Research Meet" was designed to identify collaboration opportunities and generate ideas for the future. Over 175 participants came from different parts of the housing space: practitioners, researchers, public servants, students and members of the private sector. We collaborated via research and practice panels, networking opportunities and breakout sessions. To give an example of one of the topics: the new Luxembourg constitution that came into force this year contains a provision (technically a "state objective with constitutional value") that everyone can live in dignity and access adequate housing. In one of the breakout sessions, participants discussed in small groups how that value might be put into practice in Luxembourg and the steps and collaborations needed to implement their ideas. We are in the process of summarising all the ideas from the event, but one piece of information already stands out: people agree that collaboration can have a lot of impact (on average 4.2 on a scale of 1 to 5), but identified time, understanding and resources as real barriers to collaboration. We will use this information to build activities, events and seminars in the next few years to help reduce these barriers to collaboration. It is also important to note that the conference itself was a collaboration, with six different organisations joining together to plan it. What are some of the main issues currently facing homebuyers and/or renters (particularly students and/or researchers) in Luxembourg? Has the PROPEL research project come up with policy ideas to address such issues?

Prof. Lindsay Flynn: One finding of my research is that people all over Europe are making real trade-offs - young people are struggling to secure independent housing that is close to their educational programmes or jobs, families are deciding whether they can reach their desired family size based on the costs and type of housing they need, and parents are deciding whether they can help their kids secure housing while still saving for their retirement years. These types of challenges can be particularly acute in a place like Luxembourg where both homeownership and rental costs are high. Our data so far point to no single solution, but rather point to creating a menu of options, aided by policies, that people with different incomes and people at different stages of their life can leverage based on their individual circumstances. Housing was a "hot topic" ahead of the legislative elections in Luxembourg. Does PROPEL collaborate with and/or share its findings/solutions with government entities or other organisations? What is the outlook now that the elections are over- do you feel housing will/should remain a hot topic?

Prof. Lindsay Flynn: The topic of housing is so fundamental to people's lives that I think it is here to stay, regardless of where we are at in the election cycle. As for collaborations, we are currently working on a project that examines why some eligible people do not apply for a rental subsidy that is available in Luxembourg. We are also working on a project that explores the experiences that Luxembourg residents have had in securing a lease and living in rental housing. Both projects are joint collaborations with organisations in the public and not-for-profit space. One key goal of the project is to design research that is useful to policymakers and society more broadly, so we are always open to new collaborations to connect research, practice and policy. How does the five-year funding from the FNR contribute to your work, and what is next for PROPEL (priorities, etc.)?

Prof. Lindsay Flynn: This project would not be possible without the support of FNR funding through an ATTRACT Consolidator grant. This grant enabled me to move to Luxembourg and hire a team of researchers. We have three big goals right now: to finalise our first wave of data collection and present the findings, to design a new survey that looks at the trade-offs that households face when trying to reconcile their housing needs with their jobs and family life, and to begin planning the next collaboration event between researchers and housing stakeholders in Luxembourg.