Research Area:
Resource Efficiency of Settlement Structures

The Effects of Demographic Change on Material Stocks and Flows in Housing – Germany 2050

The volume and structure of residential development after the Second World War took different courses in East and West Germany. After 1990, population figures in East Germany fell while building activity thrived, leading to growing vacancies. In West Germany, by contrast, construction proceeded in step with the high increase in the population (Banse, Effenberger 2006: IOER Texts 152). Up to 2050, according to the Federal Statistical Office, the population can be expected to develop very differently in East and West Germany. This will affect the housing stock and hence the resources and land utilization provoked by changes and adjustments (rehabilitation, demolition, development).

With the aid of the "material flow model" developed at the IOER, material flows and land consumption caused by demographic change have been defined and shown in the form of scenarios for the period 2001 to 2050. The studies show that demolition and a reduction in new construction will be necessary in future to reduce vacancy rates. As is already happening in East Germany, buildings will have to be taken off the market by demolition. In East Germany, demolition is expected to increase annually from 0.5 % to 0.6 % of the stock and in West Germany from an 0.1 % to 0.6 %. The specific amount of demolition per capita is therefore steadily rising. Over the past decade, a total of 8.7 t of building waste per head of population has been produced in East Germany and 7.2 t per head in West Germany. As the population declines, new development will decrease in both parts of the country. This will reduce the amount of material input for new construction. Over the past decade, a total of 3.8 t of building materials per head of population will have been needed in East Germany for new housing, and 3.4 t – currently still 6.6 t – in West Germany.

Generally speaking, per capita resource consumption for housing will rise steadily. The materials contained in the building stock will increase continually in quantity to 2050 by an annual figure of about 0.3 %. Across the period under review, the per capita material stock for housing amounts to an average 110 t in East Germany and 114 t in West Germany. If the amount of material built into vacant dwellings is subtracted, the average figure is 94 t in East Germany and 105 t in West Germany.

The studies have been published in the Fraunhofer IRB Verlag Science Series, vol. 25 (Gruhler, Böhm 2011).




Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Arch.
Clemens Deilmann

Tel. + 49 (0)351 4679 251


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