We understand “neighborhood development” as a holistic approach to developing entire areas of towns or cities. Contiguous groups of buildings – their environment and the district itself – are seen as an inseparable unit. Neighborhood development measures are implemented taking both financial and social criteria into account. A conscious decision has been made to focus on a neighborhood’s long-term development. The aim is to achieve an increase in the value of our property portfolio, which is reflected in visible improvements for our customers in the quality of the living space and the neighborhood alike.
Active Tenant Involvement in Neighborhood Development Concepts
The investment measures referred to above in the areas of maintenance, modernization, shaping the residential environment and new construction/adding extra stories are bundled in a neighborhood development plan spanning a period of several years and expanded to include further measures. These measures comprise infrastructure improvements for any demolition measures that have to be taken, the realization of holistic energy concepts and urban development issues. “Soft” factors are also very important when it comes to implementing neighborhood development measures. We often have to take conflicting interests into account. The active involvement of residents, public interest groups and other stakeholders in the neighborhood, as well as in cooperation with federal states and municipalities will help identify solutions to create livable neighborhoods. This is why we always try to inform our tenants of the planned measures early on and encourage them to play an active role in the process. In this way, our tenants are involved in designing the residential environment (for example, in tenant workshops, measures allowing them to actively contribute to facade and playground design, route/pathway design, etc.), among other things.
Cooperation Projects with Social Agencies a Key Component of the Concept
We know that an effective, sustainable improvement in our customers’ quality of life cannot be achieved using only the aforementioned maintenance and improvement measures to the buildings’ structure and infrastructure. We therefore want to use social projects (for example a cooperation with the “Johanniter” the Order of St. John charitable organization in Berlin) to foster community spirit and dialog within the neighborhood, for example by also giving our older tenants the opportunity to remain in their familiar environment. Needs-based cooperation projects with social agencies or players are a key component of the concept neighborhood development process. Other components can include promoting educational and cultural projects (e. g. the Künstler-Residenz-Stipendium “artists in residence” scholarship in Essen). We have various instruments for implementation at our disposal in this regard, for example providing financial support via our foundations or making premises available. We are also constantly looking into potential neighborhood development innovations in order to pick up on trends and opportunities early on, for example in the area of electromobility, photovoltaics, rainwater recycling or digitization.
Measures Aimed at Specific Target Groups, Systematic Approach
Holistic neighborhood development also always has an impact on urban development extending beyond improvements to the existing infrastructure. These measures often strengthen the provision of local basic services as well and improve the extent to which residents identify with their neighborhood. We achieve holistic neighborhood development by working with the city and municipal authorities. Taken together, all of these measures have an impact today and in the future, which is why it is absolutely crucial for the measures to focus on the needs of the specific target group. We are pursuing neighborhood development in all of our business areas, adding an additional strategic aspect to our investment programs. The individual projects and neighborhoods are specific and the process and approach are systematic from concept development to implementation. With an approved investment volume of more than € 350 million since 2016, we believe that we are making sustainable improvements to our neighborhoods and expect further neighborhood development measures to be launched in the future, too.