Our Stance


Nowhere is social and technological change more evident than in metropolitan areas. Ever more people are moving to such regions in the hope of making their own individual lifestyle concepts a reality. At the same time, digitalisation is transforming almost all aspects of our lives and, in doing so, presenting the housing sector with many challenges. We are thinking in terms of the opportunities this will bring, with a view to actively shaping our future.

90% of respondants in the real estate industry state that digitalisation is highly relevant for their companies.

Until 2022 about 4.3 billion euro will be earned with the market for smart home applications.

Since 2014, the amount of planning permission granted in Germany has been on the increase again.

Krampnitz – more than just new housing

The appeal of metropolitan areas is strong. An ever-growing shortage of housing is the result. Potsdam is a special case in point. No other state capital is growing at such a fast pace. Approximately 1,600 new residential units were constructed in the past year. An impressive number, and yet the city is running out of land for building …

Deutsche Wohnen has been tapping into existing new-build potential as a means of relieving some of the pressure on the Potsdam housing market, for example in the form of the new construction project in Potsdam-Babelsberg completed in 2016, which has been awarded gold standard certification by the DGNB. Now together with the City of Potsdam, Deutsche Wohnen is creating a sustainable neighbourhood comprising approximately 1,400 residential units on the site of the former military barracks in Krampnitz.

The interplay of new builds, listed buildings and nature imbues the new district with a certain charm. DeutscheWohnen‘ s expertise in dealing with buildings of architectural value enables it to put such historic properties to new use as suitable housing for tomorrow‘s world.


residential units will be built on this brownfield site


million EUR has to be invested


hectares - that is the overall size of the new disctrict


construction work commences


the first tenants move in

A new residential district is being created -
in consultation with the city

Presenting the plans for the former barracks in Krampnitz (from the left): Bert Nicke, Entwicklungsträger Potsdam; Lars Wittan, member of the Management Board Deutsche Wohnen SE; Jann, Jakobs, Mayor of Potsdam; Bernd Rubelt, counsellor with responsibility for construction affairs; Michael Zahn, CEO of Board Deutsche Wohnen SE.

The new district created in Krampnitz provides an answer to two important questions of our time: How are we to meet the growing demand for housing in metropolitan areas and conurbations, and what form will modern housing take in the future? In conversation with the Mayor of Potsdam, Jann Jakobs:

Mr Mayor, are you happy that construction work will soon be starting in Krampnitz?

Yes, because our city is growing. The number of our citizens exceeded 175,000 in the past year alone. The development of Krampnitz will contribute greatly towards providing flats for Potsdam residents.

But it is not just flats that are being built.

That's right. An entirely new district is being created on the site of a former military barracks. People will not just have a place to live there - they will have quality of life as well. There are plans for three day-care facilities, a primary school and a secondary school with the necessary sports facilities, as well as a youth centre. Space has also been set aside for retail outlets, service providers and restaurants. This is housing surrounded by greenery, with a waterside location and good transport links to Potsdam and Berlin.

It has been a long road from German reunification to the start of construction work on this project …

Krampnitz represents an important building block in the overall process of housebuilding in Potsdam. In Deutsche Wohnen, we are happy to have found a financially strong partner with experience in the conservation of listing buildings. Sometimes the ideal solution takes a little longer to materialise, but it is ultimately the end result that counts, and I have a very good feeling about the Krampnitz project.

A site with history ...

The Krampnitz Cavalry and Armoured Troops School [Kavallerie- und Panzertruppenschule] was put into commission in 1939. Later – post-1945 –, it was taken over by the Soviet Army. Thereafter, it stood vacant for a long period of time. In 2013, the City of Potsdam declared this listed group of buildings an urban development zone. Thanks to the agreement jointly concluded by the City of Posdam and Deutsche Wohnen, the site not only has a lot of history, but also a great future ahead of it.

... and a future

Krampnitz‘s location is doubly good. On the one hand, it is in Potsdam, the booming capital of the federal state of Brandenburg and, on the other hand, it lies between Krampnitz Lake and the adjacent forest. Here, Deutsche Wohnen will create a vibrant district which will provide an attractive place to live, particularly for families. This is, not only due to its excellent location but also the grounds of 137,000 square metres with listed buildings which are earmarked for refurbishment as part of the construction work to be carried out. These listed buildings include the “Fähnrichsheim” building, a casino and porter's lodge with a tower. The old buildings will also be allocated particular functions – for example, as restaurant locations, event venues or social facilities. Deutsche Wohnen is committed to continuing its tried and tested collaboration with the City of Potsdam and the development agency Potsdam GmbH for the realisation of this project, which will result in the creation of approximately 1,400 flats characterised by a high level of quality and sustainability.

Modernisation measures in Pankow –
in consultation with the tenants

A brief overview of the Grellstraße residential estate: – 360 residential units will ultimately be built – 2021 is the expected completion date for the construction work – around € 40 million will be invested in the project – 1 to 2 rooms will be the size of the residential units
Current state 2017

Carrying out modernisation measures in residential buildings comprising rental units is like two sides of a coin. On the one hand, everyone wants to live in a modern, attractive building. On the other hand, this requires construction work and sometimes also rent increases. So – what to do? The best approach is to discuss the options with the people who are affected, as was done in the case of the Grellstraße residential estate in Pankow.

This was precisely the approach taken by Deutsche Wohnen‘s employees, as Lars Wittan, member of the Management Board of Deutsche Wohnen SE, explains: “The condition of the Grellstraße residential estate is no longer in line with modern standards, and requires investment on our part. We are of course aware that carrying out extensive construction work in the neighbourhood and in the individual flats places considerable strain on our tenants. So, we try, through in-depth advance planning and the provision of information to residents, to keep the disruption caused by the construction measures to a minimum. We will speak to the tenants in person in Grellstraße as well, with a view to coming to individualised modernisation arrangements with each of them.” According to Wittan, it is not only disruption in the form of noise and dirt which is an issue here: “We will of course – as with all of our refurbishment measures – take cases of financial and social hardship into account and reduce the contribution towards the modernisation costs to be paid by the tenants in question accordingly. We are confident that our modernisation measures will not result in the displace ment of any of our tenants."

To this end, the borough and the company have jointly concluded an agreement as a public example of the socially responsible implementation of construction measures within the borough, the aim being to allay any fears on the part of the tenants prior to the start of the construction work and the award of the planning permission and conservation permits required by law. This has not involved the making of any particular concessions by Deutsche Wohnen. Rather, it is the case that the principles governing the implementation of modernisation and maintenance work which have applied within the company for a number of years were for the most part confirmed and only supplemented with provisions which are specific to at the Grellstraße residential estate. And there is even more good news – for the city, the borough and would-be tenants looking for a place to live in Pankow. 100 additional residential units will be created on the Grellstraße residential estate as a result of an infillendeavour, the addition of new storeys to existing buildings and a series of attic conversions. Because Pankow is also a popular location with young families, the district will also have a day-care facility.

»In one-to-one conversations we try to develop individualised modernisation arrangements, that work for both parties.«

Lars Wittan,
Deputy Chairman of the Management Board of Deutsche Wohnen SE

Housing - a brave new world

It looks like a common shared flat, but at second sight it is a test field for future living.

“Smart flat-shares”, even “digital apartments” ... This all sounds like heaven on earth for nerds and their ilk. In reality, the smart flat-share initially looks just like a normal residential unit in an older building in Berlin-Kreuzberg, in which five female students live, like so many other young people in the nation‘s capital. How ever: This residential unit is also a laboratory for the future – under the auspices of Deutsche Wohnen, among other initiators.

The five young women go by the names of Edona, Anna, Lara, Frauke and Natalia. The name which is called most often, however, is Alexa. “Alexa, play some music!”, “Alexa, turn the light on!” or “Alexa, what‘s the weather like?” can be heard throughout the flat. Alexa is not the girls‘ room-mate but a loudspeaker from Amazon which is connected to the Internet and the flat‘s smart home electronics and can be used to operate the lights, the coffee machine or the entertainment system.

“For example, when I go to my room to study, I let Alexa know. She turns my desk lamp on and puts on some classical music at low volume”, explains Natalia. But that is by no means all. Alexa can be used to check whether the windows are closed or the kettle has been switched on when one is out and about. Want to turn the heating on before you get home? No problem, that can be done using an app. When you run out of washing-up liquid, just let Alexa know and Amazon will deliver a new supply. These home electronics also have our health and wellbeing in mind: Should the carbon dioxide level in the air be too high, the sensor on the ceiling will send a message recommending that you air the room.

The five young flat-sharers have more in common than just their living arrangements. They have known each other for a long time because they are all studying for the same degree at the Anhalt University of Applied Sciences in Bernburg: a masters in online communication. At the suggestion of their university, they “Smart flat-shares”, even “digital apartments” ... This all sounds like heaven on earth for nerds and their ilk. In reality, the smart flat-share initially looks just like a normal residential unit in an older building in Berlin-Kreuzberg, in which five female students live, like to many other young people in the nation‘ s capital. How ever: This residential unit is also a laboratory for the future – under the auspices of Deutsche Wohnen, among other initiators. applied to take part in the “Smart Flat-Share” project of Deutsche Wohnen and the Institute of Electronic Business, and were accepted.

They are also carrying out other work for Deutsche Wohnen during the six months they spend living in the flat-share, helping to get the company‘s occupational health management programme up and running, in digital terms. As Natalia explains, “We analysed the current status of Deutsche Wohnen‘s occupational health management programme, after which we conducted an employee survey, the results of which we are currently evaluating. The next step will involve putting forward specific suggestions.” They were provided with co-working stations at Deutsche Wohnen‘s Service Point in Spandau for this purpose.

Back to the flat-share: The main source of conflict in flat-sharing arrangements tends to be the allocation of domestic chores. So, is the emptying of the dishwasher a cause of strife among the room-mates? “No, we use an app which allocates chores and awards points when they are completed,” says the 25 year-old. A glance at the evaluation graph shows that all five young women have earned almost the same number of “points for effort”, although Edona is slightly ahead of the others.

By the way, some real insight into what it is like living in a smart home can be found on the flat-share‘s blog: diesmartwg.com

Doorway to the future

”Smart home” and “smart city” are the words on everyone‘s lips. One thing is certain: digitalisation will change the way we live in the future. What is needed are technical housing solutions which everyone can truly benefit from.

Deutsche Wohnen is already opening the door to a new future with its adoption of smart innovations and is in the process of gradually equipping all of its holdings with the KIWI electronic key system. This is technology which will make daily life easier for our customers and service providers, and which will also increase the efficiency of our asset management activities. We have also developed a smart home solution of our own, which will make living in our flats more comfortable, secure and sustainable.

The key to a whole new living experience

We have all been there: standing at the front door, laden down with bags of shopping, gym gear or the kids‘ toys, and no hands free to hunt for the house key. Well, this scenario can now be a thing of the past. A small transponder tucked into your bag is all you need to open the door as if by magic. Deutsche Wohnen has begun equipping its properties with new technology by the name of KIWI – initially as part of a pilot project on behalf of its service partners. In the future, KIWI will make each individual building and each individual residential unit an even more attractive place to live. A conversation with Dr Marcus Eilers, Head of Deutsche Wohnen SE‘s Corporate Development and Strategy division, and Karsten Nölling, CEO of KIWI, on the subject of “key technology”:

Dr Eilers, keys are a reliable and long-familiar “tool”. What does Deutsche Wohnen hope to achieve with KIWI – a no-key system?

Marcus Eilers: Digitalisation is transforming our lives, making a lot of the things we do easier and more efficient. This is also true of the housing sector and particularly in the case of KIWI. Such investments constitute a real win-win situation for both residents and the company itself, one that makes things easier for everybody. This, together with the structural condition of our properties, is an important factor which increases our attractiveness as a landlord in the market and also improves the quality of the services we provide.

The new system will only be used for the front door of the residential building in question, correct?

Karsten Nölling: That is correct. It would of course also be possible to adapt the doors to the flats themselves. However, we think it best to leave that up to the individual residents. Anyone interested in having this option can contact KIWI and have the necessary modifications made.

You mentioned that the new system is also more efficient. How so?

Marcus Eilers: It enables us to streamline our processes. Let me give you an example. If a tradesman needs to enter one of our buildings but does not have the correct key to hand, one of our employees will most likely have to open the door for him. KIWI makes it possible for us to remotely grant the service provider access to the building. Grabbing the wrong key or misplacing your key will no longer be an issue, and in this manner we can prevent a lot of running back and forth by our employees. This has another important advantage. It helps us to keep good tradesmen, who appreciate the additional flexibility and time savings involved in not having to wait for someone to come with a key.

In all honesty, is that not a bit of a risk – from a technical standpoint? Can one actually rely on the transponders working?

Karsten Nölling: Absolutely. KIWI has already been used in detached homes for five years. That means, in almost 60,000 residential units to date already. The technology has therefore proven its value in the context of day-to-day living. This is also evident from the fact that the Berlin Fire Brigade itself uses KIWI, and we have been an exclusive partner of Deutsche Post with regard to door access solutions since 2013.

A step into the direction of smart city and smart home: Dr Marcus Eilers, head of Corporate Development and Strategy and Carsten Nölling, CEO of KIWI having a conversation.

A major step towards intelligent housing

What makes housing intelligent or smart? The right combination of the pleasurable and the practical. To this end, Deutsche Wohnen has worked with a number of partners to develop its own smart home solution offering a great many benefits …

At the centre of it all is the gateway, a tablet computer with a touchscreen, which has a special bracket for attaching it to an electric socket or light switch. The light switch is not deactivated as a result; rather, it is replaced by a remote control. The heating system can be operated by way of an initial introductory step, which only requires the thermostats on the radiators. The new thermostats automatically maintain the desired temperature and also enable the heating system to be operated remotely. Deutsche Wohnen and its companies have developed a particularly smart solution for ensuring the supply of electricity to the thermostats. An integrated thermo-electric generator converts the warmth of the radiators into electrical energy, therefore dispensing with any need for the laying of power lines or the use of batteries. Deutsche Wohnen‘s more than 163,000 residential and commercial units would otherwise produce an enormous mountain of used batteries, i.e. hazardous waste, within just one or two heating periods.

This new means of operating the heating system will reduce the amount of heating fuel consumed by up to 12% per year. However, the smart home solution will be able to do a lot more in the future. It will recognise if a window is open or broken, it will take on the role of communications centre and notify the user via the display of any change in garbage collection times, for example. Last but not least, it will make residential units more secure – particularly for elderly residents. This is achieved through the use of movement sensors, for example, which inform the gateway if someone in the flat has a fall or collapses. The gateway can then automatically trigger an alarm. However, there is still quite a way to go before all this becomes a reality. That being said, tenants in the first lot of 3,000 residential units will be able to regulate their heating via the new gateway either centrally from home or remotely as early as 2018.