In order to stop the increasing sealing of soil due to housing construction in Berlin, the Berlin regional association of the Nature Conservation Union (Nabu) is calling on the Senate to build further residential units initially by densifying and adding stories to existing houses.
This alone creates potential to create living space for 75,000 people. This is the result of research by Nabus, which the environmental association presented on Thursday. “In Berlin, cemeteries, landscape protection areas and open spaces that are important for biodiversity are still being built on,” criticized Juliana Schlaberg, nature conservation officer at Berlin’s Nabu.
The degree of sealing in the capital is already high. A total of 70.9 percent of the country is covered with settlement and traffic areas. The number will continue to increase, Schlaberg explained, if housing construction, as envisaged by Urban Development Senator Andreas Geisel (SPD), is implemented primarily through new urban quarters on existing open spaces.
However, Nabu sees potential to achieve a large part of the necessary housing construction with much smaller interventions in nature. The only thing that would have to be better used for this was the many areas that are already sealed today, Schlaberg explained. Large parking lots, supermarkets and other low-rise buildings, of which there are thousands in the city, are particularly suitable.
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With a detailed research, the conservationists examined the entire city and came across a total of 4892 potential areas. Taken together, they would have a size of 985 hectares. That corresponds to about five times the area of the Great Tiergarten, said Schlaberg.
For the calculation of the potential number of residents, the conservationists used the population density of the Berlin settlement area as a basis. However, all single-family housing estates with a lower density of residents are also taken into account. “The actual potential could therefore be even higher,” said Schlaberg, because of course multi-storey construction should take place on the areas. However, a closer look at the map shows that plots of land that are not suitable for new apartments due to their shape or urban location were also taken into account.
In addition, the Nabu calls for going beyond the classic Berlin eaves height. Additional floors could be added to existing buildings. However, the ideas remain far from the Senate’s goal of building 200,000 apartments. Schlaberg explains that it is uncertain whether the influx will really continue to the same extent. First, therefore, recompression should take place. If more apartments were needed in the future, the quarters could still be built.