After an interview with the Greens parliamentary group leader Hofreiter, a debate breaks out about the construction of single-family houses. The re is talk of a ban – which nobody has asked for. The se are the facts.
Can the dream of owning a home be reconciled with the requirements of environmental and climate protection? Green parliamentary group leader Anton Hofreiter speaks about it in an interview. After that there was heavy criticism and the Greens were again referred to as the “prohibition party”. But what is it actually about? An overview:
What is the debate about?
The trigger is the decision by the SPD and the Greens in the Hamburg-Nord district not to include single-family and terraced houses in the new development plans. The y received support from the Green parliamentary group leader Anton Hofreiter. In an interview with “Spiegel” he complained about the construction of single-family houses for ecological reasons: The y took up too much space, too much energy and drove the urban sprawl.
Did Hofreiter demand a ban on single-family houses?
No. Neither Hofreiter nor the Greens want a complete ban on new single-family houses or even new homes. Hofreiter stated this in the interview: “Of course the Greens don’t want to ban their own four walls. The y can look very different, by the way: single-family house, row house, apartment building, apartment building. Where what is is decided not by the individual, but by the local community . ” When asked about the future of single-family houses, he replied: “It will differ from region to region, from place to place. You have to give the municipalities the opportunity to decide.”
How were the reactions to Hofreiter’s interview?
Politicians of the Union and the FDP as well as representatives of the economy spoke in their reactions of the Greens as a “prohibition party” – although Hofreiter clearly distanced himself from a ban in the interview. The Thuringian CDU state chairman Christian Hirte told the “Bild”: “ The political left has never thought of private property and the dreams of millions of families. We continue in the direction of the green prohibition party with the single-family house as an enemy.”
“ The Greens want to ruin people’s dream of owning a home,” criticized Daniel Föst, spokesman for building and housing policy for the FDP parliamentary group. The own four walls and above all the single family house are a promise of prosperity and the best retirement provision. “Instead of cramping citizens in GDR prefabricated buildings, we finally have to pave the way for more people to own their homes.”
Felix Pakleppa, General Manager of the Central Association of the German Construction Industry (ZDB), also interpreted Hofreiter’s statements as a ban: “An ideological ban policy is the completely wrong way,” he said. “Anyone who builds new today is building sustainably: Home builders plan and build according to high standards in terms of energy efficiency and use the latest and sustainable methods. This makes the new building a prime example of what climate-friendly building and living can look like.”
Hofreiter received encouragement from Linken boss Bernd Riexinger, who told the editorial network Germany: “You have to reduce space consumption, for social reasons and for reasons of climate protection. That is why we cannot continue with single-family houses as before. We should instead be in the cities condense and build plots in such a way that more apartments come out – especially more affordable apartments. ”
Greens parliamentary group leader Anton Hofreiter: His remarks about the future of single-family houses are causing a heated debate. (Source: imago images)
Why are single-family houses criticized?
Single-family houses require a lot of space, but at the same time create living space for only a few people. In addition, there is the sealing – i.e. the complete extension – of the floor. Sealed soils do not drain away, which can increase the risk of flooding. Overall, too much soil is sealed in Germany. The Naturschutzbund Deutschland (Nabu) writes about the associated risks: “With the consumption of new areas for traffic and settlement purposes and increasing sealing, the habitat function of the soil, the fertility and the water permeability of the soil are lost. The consequences include the loss the soil fauna, local floods in the event of heavy rainfall, low groundwater supplies and urban heat islands due to the lack of evaporation cold. The undeveloped areas and unsealed soils as a finite resource must therefore be used sparingly. The importance of soil as the basis of our existence must be anchored in the minds of everyone because we need it like the air we breathe. ”
According to Nabu, it takes around 2,000 years to create ten centimeters of fertile soil. This valuable asset will be destroyed by the development. According to Nabu, the current land consumption in Germany corresponds to about one single-family house per minute.
The German government has also recognized the problems and wanted to radically limit land use as part of its sustainability strategy. The self-set target of 30 hectares of land consumption per day by 2020 was not achieved and was postponed to 2030. “We are examining which additional legal planning and economic instruments can be used to achieve the goal,” says the coalition agreement between the Union and the SPD.
Where are there restrictions on building single-family houses?
The trigger of the current debate is Hamburg-Nord: In the districts of Winterhude, Langenhorn and Fuhlsbüttel, which together form the district of North, the construction of single-family houses is no longer approved under the green district office chief Michael Werner-Boelz. In the long term, no new single-family houses are to be built in Thuringia’s largest city, Erfurt.
In Schleswig-Holstein, too, there is currently a discussion about whether new single-family houses should be built in popular residential areas such as Kiel, Flensburg and Norderstedt. In any case, the Association of North German Housing Companies recommends that Schleswig-Holstein no longer designate any new development areas for single-family houses.
How is land consumption developing in Germany?
One thing is clear: more and more areas in Germany are being built on. According to the Federal Statistical Office, settlement and traffic areas grew from 40,305 square kilometers to 51,489 square kilometers between 1992 and 2019. However, the average land consumption has decreased significantly over the past 20 years. In the four-year average from 1997 to 2000, almost 130 hectares were used daily for settlements and traffic, in the period from 2015 to 2018 it was only 56 hectares.
Who uses how much space in Germany?
According to the Federal Statistical Office, 31 percent of all residential accommodation is in single-family houses – but these take up 41 percent of the built-up area. The opposite is true for multi-family houses: 42 percent of the residential accommodation is on 33 percent of the area. Around 100,000 new single-family homes are currently approved each year. When it comes to land use, there is also an urban-rural gap: in municipalities with less than 2,000 inhabitants, an average of 1,545 square meters per inhabitant are “used” – i.e. built on. In large cities with more than half a million inhabitants it is only 219 square meters.