- Insufficient housing for the lower and middle income brackets in urban regions
- Action required by policymakers, the construction industry and investors
Looking forward, will inner-city locations be the exclusive reserve of the wealthy or should these districts reflect a cross-section of all social classes? This and other topics were discussed by one of the leading experts in affordable housing construction, Michael Sachs, with 150 guests at the Lloyd Fonds AG “Lloyd Lecture” in Hamburg.
Demand for affordable housing has far exceeded availability for many years right across Germany. This particularly applies to the metropolitan regions. In Hamburg, for example, there is a shortfall of more than 100,000 additional funded dwellings due to the expiry of the social restrictions. The city wants to build 4,000 new affordable dwellings each year. Yet, this is a mere drop in the ocean. “Annual construction activity has fallen short of requirements for years,” says Michael Sachs, the chairman of the council of experts appointed by the German Federal Ministry of Construction for the implementation of the housing construction initiative. “Among other things, this is due to outdated bureaucratic requirements and excessively strict technical requirements that must be eliminated. The construction industry should explore the opportunities afforded by the industrialization of construction, such as the use of modules and standards as well as multifunctionality. State and federal policymakers should seek to swiftly implement the core recommendations of the “Alliance for Affordable Housing and Construction”. Together they must save time by integrating planning and construction permit processes.” In terms of income, more than half of all households in Hamburg are entitled to affordable housing.
Demographic developments, changes in expectations of housing as well as migration into and out of cities are posing different regional challenges for local governments and the housing industry: on the one hand, there is a trend towards increasingly smaller households in tandem with rising demand for greater space and the pluralization of life styles. On the other hand, the distribution of income is becoming increasingly polarized, with the gap between rich and poor continuing to widen, while publicly funded housing is declining. The measures taken by policymakers and local governments do not go far enough and frequently do not produce the desired results.
The lecture drew the conclusion that cities and local governments must create the necessary framework for easing the situation in the housing market. At the same time, investors must come up with socially balanced solutions for financing affordable housing. The discussion was chaired by Oliver Schirg, senior editor of Hamburg daily newspaper “Hamburger Abendblatt”.
The lecture marked a further addition to Lloyd Fonds AG’s successful lecture series. Since 2002, Lloyd Lectures have covered topics in business, culture and politics. The lecturers and panel members who have participated to date include Meinhard von Gerkan, Christoph Schlingensief, Gesine Schwan, Peter Bofinger, Thilo Bode, Christina Weiss, John C. Kornblum and Henning Voscherau.