Neighborhood Development

Objectives, Measures and Indicators

Eleven neighborhoods were developed across Germany in 2018 as part of the neighborhood development investment program, affecting approximately 6,800 apartments. We have already identified potential projects and needs beyond this, and in the next few years will help numerous tenants by conducting further neighborhood developments. In addition to structural measures to improve the quality of living long term, this will also include social projects that promote a sense of community and interaction within the neighborhoods. We hope to give our older tenants the opportunity to stay in their homes as long as possible, while also promoting a sense of community and the diversity of our tenants.

You can find out more about our neighborhood development approach in the management report in our 2018 annual report (see AR 2018, chapter Non-financial Declaration).

Construction Measures and Mobility Concepts

Investments are planned for the long term. The structural measures will be complemented by further measures, such as infrastructure improvements for demolition activities that may be necessary, the realization of holistic energy concepts and urban development issues.

The residential environment plays a key role in Vonovia’s neighborhood development measures, in particular. Residential environment measures such as the creation of new green spaces and playgrounds, as well as moves to design neighborhood centers outside of buildings to provide residents with a place to meet up and communicate can, in the short term, help to increase the acceptance of renovation measures and, in the long term, create real added value for tenants. Particularly in urban environments, the issue of spaces for relaxation is becoming an increasingly important factor in terms of how people assess their quality of life, and will continue to do so in the future.

Projects such as the establishment of communal gardens for tenants can also make a positive contribution to fostering social development, particularly in neighborhoods facing cultural challenges and a difficult environment.

As part of the construction work in developing residential surroundings, mobility concepts, which we implement in partnership with towns and municipalities, are gaining in importance. In Munich, for instance, concepts such as car sharing are applied to the number of parking spaces, enabling the overall number to be reduced. We intend to add e-scooters, e-bikes and cargo bikes to our concepts and hope to encourage more towns and municipalities to apply such mobility concepts to their construction planning.

You can find an overview of structural measures taken in this sustainability report in the chapters Portfolio Maintenance and Tenant Health and Safety, and Creating Living Space and Affordable Rents.

Participation Concepts

When implementing neighborhood measures we often have to take a number of diverging interests into consideration. The active involvement of residents, public interest groups and other stakeholders in the neighborhood as well as the cooperation with towns and municipalities will help identify solutions to create neighborhoods worth living in. In this way, our tenants are involved in designing the residential environment (for example, in tenant workshops, allowing them to actively contribute to facade and playground design, route/pathway design, etc.), among other things. Participation and extensive communication involving all partners is a key component for the successful implementation of large neighborhood development projects. We do this through a number of measures. Examples are provided in the following neighborhood developments:

Berlin-Tegel (Ziekowkiez):

  • Completion of a social agreement with the Reinkickendorf district of Berlin. Main points of the agreement:
    • Social acceptability of the modernization through a cap on the modernization cost allocation at €1.75 on basic rent per square meter and consistent consideration of social hardship,
    • exclusion of rent increases in the first five years following modernization work,
    • establishment of tenant contact hours and a fixed contact on site,
    • inclusion of the agreement in every lease agreement.
  • Opening of community center „JOVO-Treff“ for seniors in cooperation with Johanniter-Unfall-Hilfe e.V. in June 2018, including a big party for the tenants.
  • Information event in November 2018 at Reinickendorf town hall to provide information to tenants and residents, and to give a complete overview of the planned work and the social agreement.
  • Opening of a “Kiezschaufenster” (shop window for the area) with local contacts and presentation of a 3D model of the planned measures; providing informational material and opportunities for direct participation (e.g., notice board for residents to post requests and suggestions).
  • Employees of Vonovia and Zebralog, our communication and participation partner, conducting hundreds of “Haustürgespräche” (chats on the doorstep).
  • Zebralog creating a comprehensive participation concept and experienced professional planners created a comprehensive mobility concept.
  • Creating a social infrastructure with senior-friendly apartments, new childcare centers, planning for new local amenities and new parking space rental.
  • Workshop planning for tenant participation in 2019 for residential environment and mobility.


  • On-schedule start to construction work – the first 15 loft apartments in the shell were completed by the end of 2018.
  • Opening of a meeting point for social and cultural interaction in October in partnership with Schotstek e.V., a non-profit organization in Hamburg, and providing customers with a migration background with offers for certain occasions, such as tutoring, language courses, kids’ programs, talks and concerts – from March 2019, offers are set to be made available continually.
  • Discussions with the “Mitte” district office regarding a leisure space and traffic concept aimed at freeing up leisure spaces and designing them in such a way that they make neighborhoods more lively.
  • Supporting the cultural district festival “48h Wilhelmsburg” in June 2019.

Neighborhood Development Measures

Neighborhood Development Measures (graph)

Social Support Activities 413-1

It is the local people who are committed to the neighborhood initiatives, social institutions, associations and cultural institutions that shape our neighborhoods. But each neighborhood is different and has different requirements and faces different challenges – e.g., access to education may be lacking, or the neighborhoods lack cultural institutions, or there is no interaction between the different age groups.

This is why Vonovia cooperates with local social and state institutions such as daycare centers and schools, welfare organizations and other social agencies, and charitable and cultural institutions. Our business areas also support specific local projects and initiatives. We base our conduct in this area on our donation and sponsoring guidelines and support projects that promote community, education and culture, and thus contribute to the development of our neighborhoods. We differentiate in three categories: financial support, donations in kind and our employees’ personal commitment. These categories are not always clear-cut, as a combination of categories is often employed.

The objective of all these measures is to provide neighborhoods in which we have portfolio properties with the support that they need and help them develop. However, the impressions of those involved are collected for further use during feedback and discussion rounds.

The following two examples are just a small sampling of our many activities.

Frankfurt Praunheim:

  • The construction of 36 new residential units, seven of which were publicly funded and are reserved for families with a right to rent-controlled homes.
  • Financial support for the “SAZ-ROCK” youth center of the quarter.
  • Diverse activities, regular homework assistance and advice, access to PCs and internet as well as educational projects.

Kiel Gaarden Ost (Gustav-Schatz-Hof):

  • Social community project in collaboration with the Frank Group, which operates a community center through Diakonie Altholstein, to strengthen the sense of community between different groups of the population and to promote dialogue.
  • Focus on cultural exchange across different generations
  • Linking assisted living and care offers with open migration and senior citizen work, targeted help with integration for residents with a migration background, advice and assistance for struggling households, public events and mediation.
  • Coffee meetings, play and crafts afternoons, group events with AWO Kinderhaus, crafts groups and memory training for senior citizens, seminars, religious celebrations and summer festivals.

Oberhausen (Friedrich-Karl Straße):

  • Focusing on the promotion of social interaction within the property with social and art projects and implementation of a „vertical development of the quarter“ to develop security and quality of living from within.
  • Cooperation with the artists’ collective (Kultur im Turm e.V.) and joined implementation of diverse projects:
    • Rent-free use of three apartments used for projects (language tuition, art projects, musical events, seats from ads) for kitev
    • Implementation of the project „Refugee´s Kitchen“
    • Light installation „Vielfalt ist unsere Heimat“ - Glückauf! (diversity is our home – ayeup!) On the roof
  • Planning of a concierge service for the barrier-free conversion of the the entry hall and other additional construction measures.

In addition to neighborhood development, which is planned and implemented at a local level, Vonovia also centrally organizes its own select projects:

  • Vonovia Photo Competition: Vonovia Photo Competition: Vonovia organizes an annual photo competition with the theme of “home.” The prize money amounts to € 42,000 and is divided into three main prizes and one new talent award. The award is aimed at professional photographers and up-and-comers. An independent jury chooses the winners, with experts from the areas of photography, journalism, art and teaching as well as the real estate industry. In its second year, the competition has already established itself as one of Germany’s most important photography competitions.
  • VfL Bochum: Our company has a particular attachment to Bochum: the local stadium is named the Vonovia Ruhrstadion and is the home of second-division VfL Bochum and our “living room”. The club and Vonovia will also work on a number of other joint activities as part of the cooperation. Vonovia will, for example, support VfL Talentwerk, the club’s youth training program. And in 2019, a number of football camps for kids will be held in partnership with the football school.
  • Foundation Work: Vonovia also uses foundations to show its social commitment by providing support to tenants, the rental environment, and in cases of social hardship. The company is currently involved in four foundations: Vonovia Stiftung, Vonovia Mieterstiftung e.V., Stiftung Mensch und Wohnen and Stiftung Pro Bochum

You can find out more about our social commitment work in our 2018 annual report and at (see AR 2018, chapter Non-financial Declaration)