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New trends in urban development and public policy in eastern Germany: dealing with the vacant housing problem at the local level


  • Birgit Glock
  • Hartmut Häussermann


Supported by federal funds, many eastern German cities have started to address their acute vacant housing problem, and the new strategies attempt to pursue revitalization in especially consistent and comprehensive forms. This article offers evidence that current policies are not meeting their main objectives. Very little is being done in the older, inner‐city neighbourhoods, although these have been given a top political priority in the planning process since they are perceived as one of the greatest economic and cultural assets of eastern Germany. Rather, the policies have been effective only in the large‐scale housing estates, where local administrations and city governments meet ‘big partners’ with resources for action. Further, it is argued that present policy strategies focus too tightly on housing market issues alone. Many housing problems cannot be solved using housing market policy tools alone as vacancy is caused by the general trends of depopulation and deindustrialization in the region. Avec l'aide de financements fédéraux, de nombreuses grandes villes est‐allemandes se sont attaquées à leur grave problème de logements inoccupés, et les nouvelles stratégies tentent une relance par des formules particulièrement vastes et cohérentes. Cet article démontre que les politiques actuelles n'atteignent pas leurs objectifs principaux. Très peu est fait dans les quartiers anciens déshérités, même si on leur a donné une priorité politique élevée dans le processus d'aménagement puisqu'ils sont en bonne place, dit‐on, dans le patrimoine économique et culturel de l'Allemagne de l'Est. En revanche, les politiques publiques n'ont été efficaces que dans les projets de logements à grande échelle lorsque les administrations locales et autorités de la ville rencontrent des ‘partenaires de poids’ ayant des ressources pour agir. De plus, les stratégies politiques présentes s'attachent trop aux seuls aspects liés au marché du logement. Bien des problèmes d'habitat ne peuvent être résolus à l'aide d'outils de politique de marché puisque la vacance tient aux tendances générales à la dépopulation et à la désindustrialisation de la région.

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  • Birgit Glock & Hartmut Häussermann, 2004. "New trends in urban development and public policy in eastern Germany: dealing with the vacant housing problem at the local level," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(4), pages 919-929, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ijurrs:v:28:y:2004:i:4:p:919-929
    DOI: 10.1111/j.0309-1317.2004.00560.x

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Hinrichs, Wilhelm, 1999. "Entwicklung der Wohnverhältnisse in Ost- und Westdeutschland in den neunziger Jahren," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Social Structure and Social Reporting FS III 99-409, WZB Berlin Social Science Center.
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    1. Matthias Bernt & Laura Colini & Daniel Förste, 2017. "Privatization, Financialization and State Restructuring in Eastern Germany: The case of Am südpark," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(4), pages 555-571, July.
    2. Nihad El-Kayed & Matthias Bernt & Ulrike Hamann & Madlen Pilz, 2020. "Peripheral Estates as Arrival Spaces? Conceptualising Research on Arrival Functions of New Immigrant Destinations," Urban Planning, Cogitatio Press, vol. 5(3), pages 113-114.
    3. Xiao, Huijuan & Duan, Zhiyuan & Zhou, Ya & Zhang, Ning & Shan, Yuli & Lin, Xiyan & Liu, Guosheng, 2019. "CO2 emission patterns in shrinking and growing cities: A case study of Northeast China and the Yangtze River Delta," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 251(C), pages 1-1.
    4. Florian W. Bartholomae & Chang Woon Nam & Alina Schoenberg, 2017. "Urban Resurgence as a Consumer City: A Case Study for Weimar in Eastern Germany," CESifo Working Paper Series 6610, CESifo.
    5. KubešCDFMR Jan, 2013. "European post-socialist cities and their near hinterland in intra-urban geography literature," Bulletin of Geography. Socio-economic Series, Sciendo, vol. 19(19), pages 19-43, June.
    6. Matthias Bernt & Annegret Haase & Katrin Großmann & Matthew Cocks & Chris Couch & Caterina Cortese & Robert Krzysztofik, 2014. "How does(n't) Urban Shrinkage get onto the Agenda? Experiences from Leipzig, Liverpool, Genoa and Bytom," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(5), pages 1749-1766, September.
    7. Florian W. Bartholomae & Chang Woon Nam & Alina Schoenberg, 2015. "Urban Shrinkage in Eastern Germany," CESifo Working Paper Series 5200, CESifo.

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