What is living

Introductory information on living

Living is a human one Basic need. The supply of the good living is an essential element of the physical security of existence.

But living is much more than just a roof over your head. The definition of living (see below) includes the living environment and the social neighborhood.

The Schwäbisch Hall spot “You don't buy a house”, designed by Ogilvy & Mather, expresses this in an entertaining and aptly manner.

The individual forms of living are forms of expression of the free development of personality. They are at the same time manifestations of the zeitgeist, the fashions and trends that shape the forms of living and furnishing.

The lecture “Essentials of Social Housing” given by Hugo Priemus at the 2007 annual conference of the European Network of Housing Research in Rotterdam offers a good introduction to the subject of housing.

In the introductory presentation to my housing industry lecture series, I take up some of Priemus' thoughts and try to limit myself to fundamental aspects of the subject of housing.

An overview of the most important developments in the housing and real estate industry and the consequences for housing, spatial planning and urban development policy is provided by the Federal Government's report on the housing and real estate industry in Germany (Bundestag printed paper 16/13325 of 4.6. 2009). This report has since been reissued (Bundestag printed paper 17/11200 of October 22, 2012).

The Federal Institute for Building, Urban and Spatial Research (BBSR) has presented its report on the housing and real estate markets in Germany (2011) for the third time - a comprehensive presentation of the current trends and the expected developments in the housing and real estate markets.

Anyone who has not yet “processed” enough numbers and data on the housing and real estate industry should read the BMVBS publication Wohnen und Bauen in Numbers 2011/2012.

And not to forget the 2013/2014 annual report by the German Council of Economic Experts, which this year contains a chapter on the German real estate market, including recommendations to the legislature with regard to the planned rent brakes and the revival of social housing (which the Council rejects).

I have an overview of the supply and demand side of the German housing market, its regulatory framework and trends in housing market research and housing policy in my presentation “Housing market and housing policy in Germany” - originally written for the workshop of the ENHR Working Group on Private Rented Sector in York on April 28, 2009 and revised for my lecture in Osaka in February 2011 - given (German version: Housing market and housing policy in Germany).



Significant things about living

The social, socio-political and macroeconomic significance of housing make up the special position of the good housing and housing policy.

The social relevance of living extends far beyond the individual sphere. Housing is also a form of social interaction. You live in neighborhoods. The location of the apartment is decisive for embedding it in social networks. These networks of relationships are becoming more and more complex because the ethnic and cultural composition of the population is becoming more and more heterogeneous. The key words here are intercultural and cross-border living.

Housing is increasingly becoming a decisive factor for social cohesion in society. Whether the integration of future immigrants can succeed will not least depend on whether old residents and immigrants are more inclined towards social segregation or more towards intercultural coexistence in shared living quarters.

The socio-political importance of living is determined by the idea of ​​certain minimum social standards for decent living. These minimum standards should be able to be achieved regardless of the household income. Where the income is insufficient, purchasing power is specifically increased through housing benefits or benefits for accommodation within the framework of unemployment benefit II. Social housing subsidies also reduce the rent burden on lower-income households. In addition, it has the task of guaranteeing sufficient living space for discriminated groups with limited market access.

The macroeconomic importance of living can be shown using various indicators. From the tenant's point of view, living as an asset is of great importance simply because, on average, they have to spend almost a quarter of their entire household budget on renting (excluding warm operating costs). The average housing cost burden for owner households is even higher in the repayment phase.

In spite of the downward trend in recent years, investment in residential construction, at € 123.5 billion in 2002, still accounts for 58 percent of total investment in construction and almost 6 percent of gross domestic product.

More than 50 percent of the total German national wealth is tied up in real estate. The value of this property portfolio is around 7.14 trillion. €. 5.51 trillion of this are € on residential property. That is more than 2.5 times the gross domestic product of 2002.

Furthermore, the importance of the housing and real estate industry for securing employment in the economy as a whole cannot be overlooked. At the end of June 2002, almost 2.4 million people were employed in the 78,526 companies in the German construction and real estate industry. Housing construction is traditionally the most important contract division in the construction industry. 90 percent of the housing construction services are provided by craft businesses.

Finally, there is an eminent part in residential construction urban development and regional planning significance which goes far beyond the function of a so-called "soft location factor". The urban development significance of housing will increase in the future in view of the urban development consequences of the incipient secular population decline. At this point only the political project of the "urban redevelopment east" is mentioned, which is about the orderly shrinking of the East German cities. The unavoidable dismantling measures are to be controlled in terms of urban development in such a way that urban landscapes that are worth living in are created or preserved.

In view of the demographic development, the focus of residential construction activity in the foreseeable future will not be on new construction, but on Inventory adjustment and renovation lie. The housing subsidy has already drawn the consequences from this development and anchored the stock-based subsidy in the area of ​​social housing subsidies.



Definitions on the subject of living

According to the definition of the World Health Organization, living is "the connection of residential accommodation, home, immediate living environment and neighborhood“.

In addition to the “roof over one's head”, this definition also addresses the role of the apartment as a center of life and refuge, as well as the living environment, which urban sociologist Hartmut Häußermann also includes the image of an area: landscape or urban development qualities and, in addition to the infrastructure, also the image of an area that is shaped by its residents. "

Living naturally also includes embedding the individual in his or her social neighborhood. The socio-demographic structures of the surrounding living environment have a decisive influence on the life chances of young people.



Entertaining on the subject of living

The housing conditions of disadvantaged sections of the population and the social commitment to improve them are a topic of the Hollywood classic It's a wonderful life (German title: Isn't life beautiful?) From 1946 with James Stewart in the lead role. Here a lance is broken for the classic philanthropic ideas of the building society movement. The collective building society savings scheme also gives disadvantaged sections of the population access to their own home. The home of one's own is touted here as the ideal way to overcome cramped and unhealthy living conditions.

The legendary ARD three-part series deals with the difficulties in making the dream of having your own home come true Once in a lifetime by Dieter Wedel. The Semmeling family decided to take the plunge into their own home and experienced all conceivable major and minor disasters and accidents such as additional costs and missed deadlines. In the end, the Semmelings are at their nerves, but happy: this incomparable feeling when you wake up in your own home for the first time in the morning really does exist.

The population's attitudes towards the idea of ​​home ownership do not depend solely on the number of children. They are also shaped culturally. As is well known, there are already big differences within Germany. The idea of ​​home ownership has a particularly large number of supporters in Swabia. The home of one's own is seen here as an essential component of long-term wealth accumulation, for which it is absolutely worthwhile not to consume in other areas. This knowledge can also be found in the well-known folk song "Create create house build”Again, which some also refer to as the Swabian national anthem.
To the text of the song.



Quotable on the subject of living

“What has not been promised to him (the little man): the land of Utopia, the communist future state, the New Jerusalem, even distant planets. But he only wanted one thing: a house with a garden ”.
Gilbert Keith Chesterton

"You are not at home where you live, but where you are understood."
Christian Morgenstern

“The question of housing is so varied that no layperson can completely overlook it. All the more, it offers everyone the opportunity to grasp her from any angle, to give her his or her interest in any individual problem. "
Gertrud Bäumer: Social questions about the future, 2nd apartment, in: Die Frau, 24th year, 1916, No. 3, p. 136

Housing policy is a cross-section of other policies that basically require a matrix organization of the government.
Stefan Kofner

"I advocate a productive role for the resident in the housing market and the house-building market:"People provide and create their own housing. This is the angle from which I shall study housing. "
Introductory lecture by Hugo Priemus from 1977.



Thoughtful things about living

In his poem “The Ideal”, Tucholsky described the individual meaning, the multidimensionality and the contradictory nature of the need for housing.

In 1973 the group Roxy Music recorded a dark ballad called In every Dream Home a Heartache. In it, the latest living trends are targeted with bitter irony, e.g. living in smart town apartments, open plan living and the bungalow ranch style (maintained by George Bush Junior). The crucial question of what to do with yourself in all the modern comforts (“But what goes on, What to do there?”) Also does not go unanswered (to the text of the song).

Has a very skeptical perspective on the possibility of creating an island of real life amidst the false with a certain furnishing style Theodor W. Adorno in the Minimum moralia (I, 18. Asylum for the homeless) taken: His reflections on this point culminated in the famous sentence: "There is no right life in the wrong one.”

The profound philosophical considerations Heideggers on the subject of building and living from his lecture given in Darmstadt in 1951 are definitely worth reading: Martin Heidegger: Build Living Think, in: Complete Edition, Volume 7, Lectures and Essays, Vittorio Klostermann, 2000. Every prospective architect, urban planner or landlord should also have read the article “Bauen Wohnen Nachsehen” by Gerd Achenbach, which was published in June 1998 in Wolkenkuckucksheim, 3rd year. , Issue 2 has been published. The whole issue is devoted solely to dealing with Heidegger's essay.

The Bible deals extensively with questions of property in the Third Book of Moses. The most important guiding principle here is: "Because the land is mine, and you are strangers and bunkers with me."



Special about living

The housing market has been referred to in the literature as the “classic intervention market”. The reason for the intensive state influence on the housing markets lies in the economic peculiarities of housing as an asset. It starts with the fact that the construction of living space is a form of land use. However, the soil itself is a very special economic asset, namely a so-called “exhaustible resource”. Ownership of the land may therefore only be exercised within the legal limits (building planning law, building regulations law, urban development statute law, neighborhood law). Other peculiarities of the good living are the high transaction costs, the imperfections in pricing, the tendency towards pig cycles and the difficult market access for discriminated groups. The list is far from over.

It is these peculiarities that make living an object of an independent policy area - housing policy. The fields of action of state intervention in the housing market are diverse. They range from promoting housing investment and facilitating market access for discriminated groups to promoting home ownership for families.