Date 12.10.2023

Living in change: Demographic challenges and opportunities in the regions around Berlin

On May 9 of this year, an exciting article about the demographic development in the region around Berlin appeared in the MOZ – the Märkische Oderzeitung.

For this article the author Kerstin Bechly conducted an interesting interview with our managing director Jesús Comesaña Macias and Raúl Comesaña Macias.

The full-page article is about the demographic changes in the Brandenburg region and the so-called Berlin Speckgürtel. About five years ago, acute settlement pressure from Berlin began. Many municipalities, such as Borkwalde or Spremberg, did not take this into account at the beginning of the 1990s when they were defining their development plans. As a result, many of these areas now have only single-family homes and larger-than-average lots. In itself, this sounds like a suburban idyll at first, but it also often conceals ill-considered problems.

Utility buildings such as supermarkets, daycare centers or health centers have no place in these areas. In addition, the connection of the villages to local transport is currently not yet sufficiently guaranteed. Districts such as Königs Wusterhausen or Oranienburg still have their village character, despite the urban development that has taken place in the meantime. Here, local transportation and utilities are not yet set up to meet demand, creating a large difference in the quality of life for residents.

In order to strengthen the areas, new construction methods can be used and alternative development plans can be developed. Here, multi-story buildings with four to six stories could offer a good alternative to one- and two-family houses. These buildings could easily house utility centers or provide significantly more living space in the same footprint. Smaller lots and therefore smaller houses can also not only be a relief for municipalities, but also contribute to their sustainability. With less living space and the latest energy standards, the energy balance of these smaller new buildings can be significantly better than that of existing buildings.

The goal for the regions should be an integration of such mixed forms of multi-story buildings and smaller houses in the residential areas.

As the article describes, BBF has succeeded very well in this with two apartment buildings in Bad Saarow. Likewise, the Comesaña Macias family spoke about urban developments and their commitment to making areas attractive for young and old to support a natural demographic mix. Now it is up to the communities to exploit the development potential of the areas and also to convince new residents through uncomplicated public transport connections.