We all have to and want to have a place to live. How do we make it possible for everyone to find a suitable apartment based on their needs and options? How do we find the appropriate balance between living as a basic need and an economic asset? How do we keep an eye on social cohesion? How much do we have to and want to regulate, for example in real estate? How do we limit the ecological consequences and the costs of building?
Housing is a key issue. It exemplifies the challenges of urban development policy, because housing shortages are growing, especially in prospering cities. Rent and purchase prices are rising and leading to a social polarisation between and in the neighbourhoods. Low-income households can hardly provide for themselves adequately. Growing cities and regions with space competition are simultaneously facing areas with stagnating developments, which are characterised by emigration, vacancies and fallow land. The result is regional disparities and a widening urban-rural gap. The conflicts over a socially just housing and land policy and equivalent living conditions intensify the political discussion.
Providing the residents with adequate and affordable living space and providing space as needed and in a targeted manner - these are the core issues of housing policy at the local level. The municipal housing policy also formulates architectural goals for further urban development.
As the planning authority, the municipality determines where and how what can be built. With the “cooperative development of building land”, municipalities in contracted market situations can contractually negotiate housing and socio-political requirements ("urban development contracts"). This is not possible in areas without special planning law instruments, since the existing area determines the approval framework (areas according to § 34 BauGB). Municipalities can create area provisions and then for instance sell their land with a socio-political objective to specific target groups (“concept awarding” to developers or actors who are oriented towards the common good, heritable building rights). As owners of urban housing associations, they can achieve further social or technical goals and have a price-reducing effect on the urban housing market.
Integrated urban development concepts define the goals of urban housing policy and name interdisciplinary implementation strategies as a medium and long-term framework. They also show new perspectives for housing markets in neighbourhoods that are characterised by oversupply. With many actors from politics, administration, the housing industry and civil society, market processes such as for example gentrification and structural vacancies can be evaluated jointly and agreed strategies may be implemented in continuous cooperation.
The National Urban Development Policy supports the development and dissemination of good examples of municipal building and housing policies and coordinates them with the use of nationwide funding instruments such as urban development funding and the further development of legal instruments.