About Baukultur

"Baukultur" in the Baukultur Reports

The Federal Foundation of Baukultur offers facts & figures which are included part of the development of the Baukultur Reports. Results of public enquiries and co-operations with specific expert groups strengthen the contents of the Baukultur Reports.

Baukultur Report 2016/17

The Baukultur Report 2016/17 “City and Village” focuses on small and medium-sized urban spaces and rural areas. It builds upon its predecessor and likewise contains recommendations for action to increase Baukultur. It was presented to the public for the first time at the Convention of Baukultur, held in Potsdam from 3 to 5 November 2016.

The Baukultur Report, with its recommendations for action, is aimed at all those involved in planning and building, so as to remedy deficits and make optimal use of recognised potentials. Besides general recommendations for action, in particular the public sector – that is, the federal government, states, and municipalities –, private building owners, and the housing and real estate industry as well as professional chambers and associations are addressed. The Federal Foundation of Baukultur and the various Baukultur initiatives are also charged with resolutely expanding the network and, in so doing, strengthening Baukultur.

Baukultur Report 2014/15

During the work on the Baukultur Report 2014/15, the meaning of Baukultur as perceived by the population and municipal administrations alike was determined with the help of a survey.

Overall, the population values a built environment that is well looked after, and sees this as the key task of Baukultur, in particular with regard to historic buildings. Local authority personnel responsible for Baukultur place great emphasis on the conservation and upkeep of valuable historic buildings, but primarily associate Baukultur with aesthetic qualities and with the creation of identity. By contrast, people in small communities more commonly associate the term Baukultur with the maintenance / refurbishment of old or historic buildings, while in large cities people primarily associate town / urban planning and design with the term. However, for one fifth of 18 to 29 year-olds, the term Baukultur needs to be explained – they cannot imagine what the term might refer to.

For local authorities, some of the most important criteria of Baukultur include local identity, design quality, the conservation and upkeep of high-quality historic buildings, and high-quality workmanship. To date, technical innovations, integrated development, flexible and adaptable structures, or social aspects are not associated with Baukultur by local authorities.

Taking into account these differing views of various parts of the population, Baukultur cannot be reduced to a single definition; instead, the term triggers a range of associations. This means that Baukultur has an impact on various different aspects of the built environment and, in the best case, favours outcomes with multiple benefits. One important benefit is the contentedness of the population with its city or neighbourhood. High-quality living spaces lead to acceptance and well-being. There is a clear majority of citizens who like to live in their own place. There are only minor differences between the east and west of Germany; perhaps there is a slight tendency towards greater contentedness in the eastern federal states. Good accessibility to infrastructure facilities near one’s home has a high priority for the population. This means that a good supply of facilities and good transport connections covering all areas are important prerequisites for everyday satisfaction, and is obviously easier to achieve in large cities. Across all sizes of communities, the population is most satisfied with having green areas and nature in close proximity to their homes.

It appears that the municipalities are well aware of the importance of Baukultur qualities for the (residential) satisfaction of the population. When asked about the benefits / commercial importance of Baukultur, the competition between municipalities to attract jobs and people takes second place. It follows that a high-quality built environment is an important asset of a location in the competition amongst municipalities for residents and work places – particularly in the larger cities.

A large part of the population has a strong affinity with everything to do with construction. No less than almost every fifth person stated that, during the period of their education / training, they had wanted to work in the construction industry, either as architect, urban planner, historic buildings officer, or structural engineer. This means that a large part of the population has generally a positive and interested attitude towards the subject of building.

In the view of the population, Baukultur is of minor importance to other sectors of the administration and to external stakeholders. Interest amongst those who are responsible for town planning is followed by an interest in Baukultur amongst those responsible for municipal policy. Housing societies, other departments of the administration, and private investors and building owners are deemed to have less interest in Baukultur than citizens.

It seems that a cross-departmental understanding of Baukultur is rather more prevalent in the federal states of the former West Germany than in those in the east – although overall interest in the subject is low. For Baukultur, this confirms what is generally emerging from the municipal survey: although solutions for the integration of urban functions are currently the subject of many official declarations, this concept is still far from being actually put into practice in larger and smaller communities.

The results discussed above were provided by the German Institute of Urban Affairs (Difu), which was commissioned by the Federal Foundation of Baukultur to carry out a nationwide survey amongst municipalities. Simultaneously, forsa Institute for Political and Social Research carried out an opinion poll amongst the public on the subjects of Baukultur, housing, planning, and participation. The detailed results can be viewed in the Baukultur Barometer, which can be downloaded here.