From the green belt of Hamburg where he lives, Michael Werner-Boelz, the Green party head of the northern district of the Hanseatic city, demanded a ban on the construction of single-family houses and terraced houses. His hypocrisy sparked a lively debate nationwide in Germany.
Werner-Boelz, one of the leading Green politicians in Hamburg, lives with 340 000 inhabitants a large area of its own within the cosmopolitan city of Hamburg. The sociologist has lived comfortably in a single-family house with a cellar and garden for 30 years in one of the few remaining homes of this kind.
Werner-Boelz’s house is fittingly owned by Saga, the largest German municipal housing company owned by the City of Hamburg. Perhaps that’s why Werner-Boelz pays a remarkably low rent: €650. This is almost free by Hamburg standards.
When he took office in 2020, Michael Werner-Boelz demonstratively declared that he no longer wanted to allow a new single-family home in his district. The building type is inefficient and takes up too much space. In fact, no new single-family houses and terraced houses have been allowed to be built in the Hamburg-Nord district for a year. The state chairman of the CDU economic council, Henneke Lütgerath, explained this ban: In the Hanseatic city of Hamburg “a dream of left ideologues has come true”.
At the beginning of February 2021, Werner-Boelz stated once again: “The decision that no single-family or terraced houses will be approved in new development plans in the north was an important step.” The German daily Bild Zeitung commented in its regional publication: “Sounds like a typical case of ‘blinking left and turning right’.”
Why doesn’t Werner-Boelz live in an apartment? Can a politician demand of others to forego something that he himself enjoys? The Green member was unimpressed by this question. Actually, Werner-Boelz thinks such a question is wrong: “My personal living situation has nothing to do with the political decision of the green-red district coalition not to allow single-family houses in new development areas in the future.”
Allegedly, according to Werner-Boelz, it is possible to continue building single-family houses on areas previously designated for this purpose. At least in theory. The district office manager continues: “But we have to acknowledge the fact that the building areas in the district are finite. It’s not a pipe dream, it’s a real problem in many metropolises.”
The fact remains: “The green-red district coalition de facto prohibits single-family houses”. This is a quote from the coalition agreement for the metropolitan Hamburg district, which the ruling Greens and the SPD have decided.
Hamburg is by no means an isolated case. In Cologne, for example, the Greens want to “replace” the single-family home with radical plans. The Kölner Stadtanzeiger reported on this in detail as early as 2019. In the city “as many apartments as possible should be built on already used surfaces such as industrial areas”. From now on, parking lots, streets, tracks and supermarkets could demolished for high density housing. High-rise buildings in particular are being traded as an additional alternative.
“Under the term downsizing, the Greens are demanding that people be content with less living space.” One suggestion from the Greens is: “Pensioners could, for example, live in shared apartments”.
The Greens do not say that the housing shortage in Germany is primarily related to the fact that the population is increasing from year to year due to the immigration of millions of “people in need of protection” who are in fact not political “refugees” at all. Above all, they are promoting multiculturalism.
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