There is also no shortage of building land in urban centers

Housing construction in Berlin

There is still a lot of unused building space in metropolitan areas, a new study shows.

(Photo: dpa)

Berlin The coalition agreement between SPD, Verdi and FDP promises “a departure from building, housing and urban development policies”. Apartments are in short supply, especially in metropolitan areas, one of the reasons for rising prices and rents. The federal government has therefore set itself the goal of providing 400,000 new apartments per year by 2025, including 100,000 in subsidized social housing.

So far, it was the building permits already granted that led Federal Building Minister Klara Geywitz to believe the feasibility of this goal. Now there is a new topic: the availability of building land. “We have potential from north to south, east to west,” the SPD politician said at the presentation of the building land study on Tuesday.

With a conservative estimate based on habitual use so far, there is building land available nationwide for at least about 900,000 residential units, Geywitz said. With denser development or use, there are also significantly more, up to over four million residential units. “As a practical person, I would say that the good half, two million, would be quite achievable.”

The main finding of the survey is that there is also a lot of unused space for residential construction in urban centers. This way you can limit the amount of new designated areas on the green field. The government has also set itself the goal of clearing less than 30 hectares of land per day by 2030.

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“We can no longer afford to waste land, both economically and ecologically,” said the federal construction minister. We therefore want to use the potential that lies dormant in the municipalities. According to the Federal Statistical Office, on the four-year average from 2017 to 2020, the settlement and traffic area in Germany grew by around 54 hectares per day.

The study is published by the Federal Research Institute for Construction, Urban Planning and Spatial Development (BBSR). The team of authors also includes scientists from the Leibniz Institute for Ecological Space Development (IÖR) and the Cologne Institute for Economic Research (IW). 692 cities and municipalities took part in the survey.

Read here: model or not? How good Hamburg is as a model for residential construction

The study shows “that there is enough space for residential construction,” said BBSR chief Markus Eltges. But there are other challenges: it is now important to “get these areas ready for construction quickly, involve the local population in the planning processes at an early stage and use mass production methods”. This could reduce construction times and at least partially counter the shortage of skilled labor in the construction sector.

The study identifies three categories of areas:

internal development potential

Public and private areas – abandoned areas and vacant lots – in developed settlement areas. The study sees a potential of at least around 84,000 hectares here. Uncultivated land accounts for about 40%, vacant lots about 60%.

Reserves of building land ready for construction

Public and private areas outside the developed settlement areas, intended for structural uses or for the development of green and recreational areas. This also includes brownfields. Together, the domestic development potential and the stockpiles of building land ready for construction make up an area of ​​at least approximately 99,000 hectares. This corresponds to an area of ​​140,000 football fields. Of these, about 55% are rated as directly usable or as mobilizable in the short term.

The plan is to use the space mainly for apartments at 65%, followed by commercial space at just under 25%. About 3.5% of the areas are used for greenery and recreation. The rest is represented by unknown uses.

Long-term building land potential

Areas that are intended for structural use but for which there is still no urban plan. Here, the information from the cities and municipalities interviewed amounted to over 130,000 hectares.

In addition to this area potential, there is said to be a potential for densification in existing neighborhoods. Examples of this are the addition of loft floors or redevelopments, as well as infrastructure or traffic areas that can be built upon, as well as second row development, courtyard development, and other additional buildings.

Moreover: There is a lack of apartments in Germany: these seven measures should alleviate the problem.

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