Unsealing Potentials

Better use of unsealing potentials to restore soil functions and to adapt to climate

Problem statement

The preservation of natural soil with all its functions is indispensable for sustainable development. Soils are central to the survival of mankind and the preservation of biodiversity. They contribute to the percolation of rainwater and support its evaporation. The latter is important both for cooling the (urban) climate and for increasing air humidity. The increasing sealing of surfaces in the course of urbanisation and industrialisation leads to a detrimental change in the composition of the soil. These negative effects can be counteracted by unsealing. It is therefore necessary to take unsealing measures aimed at restoring soil functions and adapting to climate change.

In Germany, there are already a number of soil protection regulations, which require the unsealing of soil. For example, Section 5 of the Federal Soil Protection Act (BBodSchG) explicitly stipulates an unsealing requirement. Other laws, such as the Building Code (BauGB), the Federal Water Act (WHG) and the Federal Nature Conservation Act (BNatSchG), also contain regulations to promote unsealing. In addition, there are instruments that provide financial incentives to promote unsealing measures. In practice, however, these regulations and instruments are only of limited use. The reasons for this are to be investigated on the basis of an analysis of the legal requirements and by means of expert interviews on practical implementation. The results serve as a basis for proposals for the further development of the legal and funding instruments.


The overall objective of the project is the identification of existing unsealing potentials and the analysis of existing legal provisions and other instruments for the promotion of unsealing measures in order to elaborate and submit proposals for the optimisation of the legal framework.


The evaluation of the legal foundations is carried out by applying the usual legal methods for the analysis of law, taking into account relevant literature (commentaries, journal papers, monographs) and jurisdiction. Specifically, the extent to which unsealing measures are required, supported or made more difficult by these regulations is examined. In addition, questionnaire-based interviews with representatives of authorities and other practitioners are conducted to gain experience with the practical implementation of the regulations.


The Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development is jointly funded by the federal government and the federal states.

FS Sachsen

This institute is co-financed by tax funds on the basis of the budget approved by the Saxon State Parliament.