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Frankfurt tackles housing crisis with ambitious plan to build new district

The Local Germany
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Frankfurt tackles housing crisis with ambitious plan to build new district
Frankfurt. Photo: DPA

Plans to build two new residential districts near the A5 Autobahn in the Frankfurt area are finally making progress after Frankfurt’s mayor Peter Feldmann (SPD) formally backed the large-scale project.

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The regional authority (an official body in charge of housing planning) proposed the plans to build the new districts on Tuesday, the Frankfurter Rundschau reports.

The plans have received backing from Social Democrats (SPD) and Christian Democrats (CDU) representatives alike and the new districts would likely be able to house up to 30,000 people on both sides of the A5 Autobahn and a further 6,000 in Sulzbach, an area just outside of Frankfurt.

The regional authority forecasts that an additional 184,000 housing units will be needed in the region by 2030. 

The Frankfurter Rundschau reported that talks between the city of Frankfurt and the regional authority will hopefully take place by the end of June, well before the state parliament elections on 28th October. This is at the request of Thomas Horn (CDU), director of the regional authority, to discuss the proposed new neighbourhoods.

Minister president of Hesse Volker Bouffier (CDU) has also come out in favour of the new building plans around the Main-Taunus-Centre mall between Frankfurt, Sulzbach and Liederbach. He told the Frankfurter Rundschau that in the face of the current lack of residential areas in the region, it is the authority’s duty to find a solution and this is a “chance for the city of Frankfurt to cultivate something with the neighbouring towns”.

Both the city of Frankfurt and the regional authority are highly dependent on the other signing off on the plans as the new residential areas will cover areas from both.

Frankfurt may be able to compromise and build just on the east side of the A5 to border its Praunheim and Niederursel districts. But equally, the regional authority can only go ahead with the building around the Main-Taunus-Centre if Frankfurt is in compliance.

Even if both sides work together, there will still be hurdles to overcome, as noted by the planning councillor during the press conference.

One obstacle to the building of these new neighbourhoods will be the assessment of public transport links, with Horn referencing the suggestion of the Frankfurt transport councillor Klaus Oesterling (SPD) to extend the S Bahn line 11 up to the Main-Taunus-Centre.

But more importantly, according to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the cost of this project would be €350 million - money which the city of Frankfurt currently does not have.

The announcement comes at a time when Germany’s larger cities are facing a sudden housing crisis. Since 2008 the number of people moving into the cities, from both Germany’s rural areas and from abroad, has increased dramatically.

According to experts, the lack of housing is partly due to the government’s inability to keep up with the demand and government should do more to encourage new building projects.

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