Urban development under changing demographic and economic conditions
The urban and local authority policy of social, ecological and economic modernisation is facing new challenges. In the long term, population shrinkage, ageing and increasing heterogeneity will characterise the demographic change in Germany, albeit with regional differences. At the same time, the national policy action conditions are changing fundamentally and will continue to do so in the future. Their characteristics include the increasing interdependencies within the global economy, financial market internationalisation, the progressing integration of Europe and the global challenges posed by sustainable development. The consequences of these world-wide changes are concentrated and intensified in cities.
This process of change, the complexity of the urban sector, interlinkage between European Union (EU), Federal Government, federal state and local authority funding and regulations have made many areas of the state unclear to citizens. Participation has become difficult in many fields. However, the cities will only cope with their tasks and challenges if they give direct consideration to the vital interests of all concerned, if involvement and co-determination increase. Citizens' commitment is therefore an indispensable prerequisite in attaining the city of the future.
We have to regard these changes as an opportunity and actively face up to the related tasks. This will result in new possibilities for urban and regional sustainability. Willingness to modernise, democratic culture and the will to maintain and improve economic and ecological bases are essential elements of this.
Sustainable urban development
Sustainable urban development is particularly focussed on the following key issues:
- Settlement development under changing general conditions - orientation towards cities
- Develop co-operation between cities on a regional scale
- Use the decline in land take as an opportunity - make residential areas more attractive for families with children
- Create socially stable urban neighbourhoods - use migration as an opportunity
- Redevelop infrastructure to meet the needs of older people
- Design mobility to be compatible with the objectives of urban development and the environment
- Strengthen cities as centres of business and innovation
- Maintain retail diversity - strengthen central supply sectors
- Improve interaction between local authority planning and private investors
Promotion of urban development
To enable cities to cope better with their new tasks and challenges, the Federal Government supports the creation of sustainable urban structures with urban development promotion programmes. To do this, the Federal Government guarantees the federal states financial assistance in accordance with Article 104 a Paragraph 4 of the constitution; this assistance is supplemented by federal state and local authority funds. This federal financial aid is made available to the federal states on the basis of an administrative agreement (promotion of urban development administrative agreement).
The objectives of promoting urban development are:
- Strengthening inner cities and town centres in their urban function, also under consideration of protection of historic buildings
- Creating sustainable urban structures in areas affected by significant urban function losses; the principle indication of such function losses is permanent oversupply of structural works, such as, vacant dwellings or derelict sites in inner cities, particularly industrial sites, former military sites converted for appropriate re-use and railway sites
- Urban development measures for eradicating social deprivation.
The Federal Government has created the following programme areas to implement these promotional objectives:
- Urban rehabilitation and development measures (leaflet is available for download)
- Protection of urban architectural heritage
- "Social City" programme
- Urban restructuring in the new federal states
- Urban restructuring in the old federal states