The weight of recent immigration has added to the already acute need for an accelerated housing programme, particularly in Germany.
Markus Terboven, board member at Gewobag Wohnungsbau-Aktiengesellschaft, said that in Berlin, six major house builders had been asked by the Berlin authorities to deliver around 60,000 apartments in the next decade, representing an investment of around €2bn each. He said that this requirement was based on a plan before the recent influx of immigration, which meant that the need for new homes was now even greater.
It was a view echoed by Dusseldorf Mayor Thomas Geisel, who added: “We must look at increasing the density of residential development in our cities to keep up with the demand.”
Architect Ian Simpson, of Manchester- and London-based SimpsonHaugh and Partners, is an unapologetic advocate of high-rise development. He believes it is essential for cities that have to accommodate rapidly growing populations. “Density allows us to deliver quality, and there’s a real desire on a whole series of levels to intensify development,” he said.
And Ingvar Hansen, head of planning development for the City of Copenhagen, said his city planned to deliver 45,000 new houses by 2027, in order to make the quality of life for which Copenhagen is famous more widely accessible. “The city has invested in recreational facilities to encourage more young people to stay. There is also a modern transport system supporting a modern life in the city. As a consequence of the dramatic rise in demand, prices have increased and the city fears only high income people can afford housing,” he said.
But Richard Fagg, Deputy Managing Director of Bouygues Development, said London faced challenges on a far bigger scale. “They [Copenhagen] have to build 45,000 houses in ten years. We have to build 50,000 a year,” he said.