Einsame Landschaften – Blühende Städte
Blobel, Daniel 2006: "Einsame Landschaften - Blühende Städte", in: Volker Hauff and Günther Bachmann (eds.): Unterm Strich. Erbschaften und Erblasten für das Deutschland von morgen. Eine Generationenbilanz. München: oekom Verlag, 23-34.
Since 1950 about the same amount of land was taken into usage for settlement and transport as in the entire history in Germany before. Although the population is decreasing, increases in demand for improved living conditions and growing rates of single households will continue land development. While ecological disadvantages of urban sprawl were recognised long ago, there could also appear – under conditions of population decrease – devastating economic and social consequences.
While in some regions the social and technical infrastructure is decaying due to the decrease of population, elsewhere the building is ongoing. The longer this trend is continued, the more inefficient and expensive the structure of settlement in the future will be when more and more regions see a decline in population.
A stronger concentration of settlements, combined with a renaissance of the urban living, could not only solve the problem of the land usage, but also improve quality of life. Meanwhile the trend "back into the city" is not just advocated by experts but also happening. While the typical one-family house clientele, the classic small family, is in the process of declining, the proportion of single- and two-person households, which are often made up by older people, is increasing. For many of them, a central address with better access and more culture is more attractive.
But the reclamation of the city is not happening on its own. In order to reuse empty space as well as make quarters more attractive, new understandings of planning need to involve all parties.
This chapter by Daniel Blobel is part of the book, Unterm Strich. Erbschaften und Erblasten für das Deutschland von morgen. Eine Generationenbilanz, which was written next to the project Contributions to Generational Accounting to Assess Sustainability.