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Shrinkage and aging are Europe-wide challenges
Date:4/29/2008

This release is available in German.

Leipzig. Unlike in Eastern Germany, shrinking numbers of city dwellers in the Czech Republic and Poland did not so far lead to massive numbers of unoccupied properties and demolitions. In East Central Europe, there are other reasons for the presence of empty apartments, e. g. the bad state of repair. These are the findings of a research project conducted by the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), which compares population development in the cities of Brno and Ostrava in the Czech Republic and Gdansk and Lodz in Poland with Leipzig in Eastern Germany. The researchers found that empty properties in Poland and the Czech Republic were not the result of an oversupply of housing, but rather the result of a real need for redevelopment in districts with old building stock. Since many tenants are not registered or flats are illegally sublet, the official statistics often do not reflect the reality, according to the researchers. At the same time, however, there are some parallels with Germany. Most importantly, the ageing population needs to be mentioned. This is a topic for both cities and whole countries. In all cities under investigation, the proportion between the younger and the elderly population in recent years changed decisively in favour of the elderly. This has consequences on urban planning and housing policies: flats need to be adapted to the requirements of elderly people, infrastructure demand changes.

From 14 to 16 April, 130 scientists from 15 countries were discussing the impacts of demographic change on European cities at an international conference at the UFZ in Leipzig. Population developments always have impacts on the environment: empty apartments are heated alongside occupied ones, plots of land are not desealed after a demolition. Public transport becomes less efficient in
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Contact: Tilo Arnhold
presse@ufz.de
49-341-235-1635
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Source:Eurekalert  

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