Germany: sustainable use of single-family dwellings

Sustainable use of single-family dwellings from the 1950s to the 1970s

Institute for Spatial Planning and Development Planning (IREUS)

A project of the W├╝stenrot Foundation

One- and two-family houses, which make up about half of the housing stock created in West Germany after the Second World War, will be increasingly affected by socio-demographic change processes in the future. In the life cycle of many single-family housing areas of the 1950s to 1970s, a generation change is coming. The sustainability question for parts of these stocks is raised by several factors. As the population shrinks and ages in some areas, the demographic potential for single-family home demand will diminish over the next few years. In addition, the general pluralization of life models and housing preferences in changing household structures and in the spatial shift of housing demand in favor of more densely populated areas, so that urban living arrangements are becoming increasingly important.

It will affect stocks in demographic and economic problematic regions as well as stocks with unfavorable positional characteristics, structural and energetic deficiencies and image problems. For owner-occupied residential property, which is fundamentally outside state, municipal and housing-related spheres of influence, there is the danger of a downward spiral above a certain threshold of vacancy or under-use. In addition, the infrastructure supply of these areas is at risk, whose economic viability is often less robust anyway due to the low density of housing and population. It must therefore be expected that older single-family housing districts will have to deal more often with disperse vacancies, dismantling and devaluation in the future, a development which calls for active and early countermeasures for ecological, economic, social and urban planning reasons.

The project of the W├╝stenrot Foundation is carried out together with the Stuttgart University of Applied Sciences and the Institute for Regional and Urban Development Research and pursues the goal of comprehensively meeting the demand for the sustainable use and adaptability of single-family dwellings of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s to investigate. On the basis of a territorial classification and scenarios for the development of future demand in quantitative and qualitative terms, concrete urban planning and infrastructural adaptation options are identified and evaluated. The discussion of adaptation possibilities leads to the formulation of recommendations for action for potentially endangered stocks, which counteract economic, social, urban development and construction devaluation. The main addressees of the research project are cities and municipalities, which will be confronted to a significant extent with the problem of replanting single-family households.