Geywitz on single-family homes: “Economic and ecological nonsense”

Status: 04/15/2022 2:04 p.m.

Many people share the desire to own their own home. But even if you can afford to build a single-family home, does it make economic and ecological sense? No, said Construction Minister Geywitz. It focuses on the renovation of old houses.

Federal Construction Minister Klara Geywitz believes that the construction of new single-family homes in Germany must be curbed in order to reduce land use and protect the environment. It is “economically and ecologically absurd” for every generation to build new single-family homes, the SPD politician told “taz” over the weekend.

“Other duty cycle” as a solution?

Initially, five people lived in 150 square meters, “but then the children move out – and the house is not shrinking yet.” Hundreds of thousands of single-family homes have been built since the 1950s. “Most of the time it’s not families anymore, but one or two seniors.” The solution is a different duty cycle, she said. “It would be nice if the next generation of young families would buy old houses and renovate them. We have to provide state incentives for that. Then you can combine the two: saving space and allowing people to want their own house.”

Geywitz said a debate about “living well” was needed. Over the past few decades, the living area per person has steadily increased. “We talk about how our own eating or mobility behavior affects climate, but not yet in terms of life.”

“Rethinking in the living space”

It needs to be built differently, she said — with smaller living spaces but larger common spaces. “But we will not issue any regulations as to how many square meters an apartment can have. In other areas, we rely on repairing instead of throwing away or sharing instead of owning. If we want to achieve the climate protection goals, we also need a rethink in the living space, i.e. more together instead of ‘All mine’.”

According to the Federal Environment Agency, there were approximately 42.8 million apartments in 2020, 5% more than in 2011. During the same period, however, the living space actually used increased significantly, by 6.5% – mainly due to greater living space per capita.

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