Editorial

Creating today the
city of tomorrow

 

There is a shortage of housing in Germany! The areas most affected by this shortage are those which draw the greatest number of newcomers: the country‘s metropolitan areas and conurbations, which at the same time are the areas with a sound economy and ready capital. So, why is too little housing being built? The reason for this is a failure on the part of the government to create the necessary conditions. Ever more constraints, on the one hand, and demand for fast and cheap construction, on the other hand, are mutually exclusive factors. One number says it all: 40 percent of the costs incurred in connection with the construction of new builds are due to specifications imposed by the federal government, the federal states and local authorities!

 

And it is not enough to simply make existing building structures available. Some fundamental issues are in need of resolution. How should we use the finite space available in these locations? How should we respond to demographic change? Or – how should we manage energy consumption sensibly? In short, it is concepts for the provision of housing in the cities of tomorrow which drive us forward today. We are in the process of developing and realising these concepts, to which end Deutsche Wohnen also works closely with academics, administrators, architects and industry. In the past three years, we have invested approximately € 780 million in our existing holdings. New residential units will be built in the Greater Berlin region, Frankfurt / Main, Leipzig and Dresden in the following years.


Our economic success is contingent upon our having satisfied tenants who are happy to live in our properties. Our goal is to provide them with modern residential units offering high standards and backed up by good service. Our employees work to achieve this every day. However, sometimes things still do not go exactly as we would wish, and we strive to learn from these experiences so as to be able to better handle such situations in the future. Our efforts in this regard are very much appreciated by our tenants, most of whom feel comfortable in their home environment, as is evidenced by the results of our first tenant survey. Such positive feedback motivates us to continue along our chosen path while constantly making improvements where we can.

However, we also feel called upon to rise to a number of new challenges, particularly those presented by the younger generation, with its desire to experience “intelligent” housing, or so-called smart homes. Our digital flat-share represents a practical experiment in this regard: Students in Kreuzberg are experiencing tomorrow‘s way of living in the here-and-now and in the process evaluating the smart home solutions which are available on the market. In addition to setting up this “living lab”, we have also developed a smart home solution of our very own this past year, which will be installed in an initial 3,000 residential units this coming year with a view to lowering the energy consumption of those properties. On the other hand, an ageing population means greater demand in another market – namely housing for the elderly – and we are expanding the range of services we offer in this area accordingly.

In all of our endeavours, we are fortunate to have the support of employees who are committed to doing their very best in carrying out work that they are enthusiastic about here at Deutsche Wohnen. They are not only crucial to our economic success – they are also a reflection of our society as a whole. At Deutsche Wohnen, individuals with long-standing experience in the housing sector work side-by-side with enthusiastic newcomers just starting out along their career path.

I hope you find this issue a stimulating read!



Kind regards,

Michael Zahn

Chief Executive Officer of Deutsche Wohnen SE