Compared with other big cities, Stuttgart, the Swabian San Francisco, offers a clear advantage for living: slopes all around. From all sides you have a view down onto the green and vital state capital situated in the valley basin, the centre of Baden-Württemberg. The safest big city in Germany has a tendency towards the understatement that is typical of the region and it can afford its very own attitude to life and living between tradition and modern comforts, between local patriotism and global thinking, between modesty and luxury.
The state capital of Baden-Württemberg has 590,000 inhabitants. The sixth biggest town in Germany attracts immigration. In the past eight years, the population has increased by 7,500 newcomers. Altogether 2.7 million people from 170 nations live in the region. It is booming. A very high concentration of high-tech companies has found its home in the region. But architect’s offices, building project organizers and real estate companies are also based here. Not for nothing have the most exciting developments in German architecture taken place in Stuttgart for more than 80 years.
There are plenty of jobs: The unemployment rate is currently between five and six per cent – and thus lower than in all other German towns of a comparable size.
The region invests more than ever in the traffic infrastructure, especially in the Magistrale for Europe, which is the key element of the mammoth project Stuttgart 21. The concept includes plans regarding the traffic infrastructure, economy and culture as well as urban working and living. Following the construction of the new fairground near the airport, the Stuttgart 21 project makes the state capital even more modern and even more attractive for companies. From a macro-economic point of view, Stuttgart doesn’t have to fear the comparison with other big European urban centres in any way.
The market for office and commercial properties in the Swabian metropolis is in motion and reveals a trend towards favourable developments for the next four years. Several big companies and corporations are currently building and developing office space. The market is pulsating and offers good perspectives. At present more than 500 office units and surgeries are for rent or sale in the region.
Against monotony and standstill
Stuttgart is an (auto)mobile city. Around the capital of Baden-Württemberg, there is a belt of well connected, strong towns and municipalities, which can be reached easily and comfortably via public means of transport and short-distance railway systems as well as several autobahns and main roads. This way the buzz of the big city combines with rural charm. Only a few minutes’ drive away from Stuttgart’s city centre, many families have made their dream of living in green surroundings come true. Between vineyards, fields and rivers, there are housing estates with terraced houses and detached houses; you can find classic exclusive residential areas as well as high-rise estates built in the 1970s.
A manifold offer of residential units is the basis for growth in the region. The market provides houses of glass and buildings of concrete, bungalows and residence towers, lofts, listed historic buildings and modern passive houses. In terms of living, the region satisfies every taste and budget. Barrier-free homes and assisted living, child-friendly and inexpensive places, residences with generous space and calm and ecologically superior homes with sophisticated interior are among the most popular types of residences. When it comes to property ownership, the buyers still favour detached single family houses more than anything else. The surroundings contribute decisively to people’s satisfaction with their homes. The major landlords support successful neighbourhoods by introducing sustainable living concepts and rental schemes and by providing social and accommodation management. To reduce the impact of particulate matters on the residents, the city has introduced a wide low emission zone.
The Stuttgart region relies on extreme and ecological novelties like architect Werner Sobek’s square, glazed residential house R 128, which is located on a slope, it relies on modern aesthetics, focused on the basic essentials like the one that can be found in the quarter called Weißenhofsiedlung and on ecologically developed residential areas like the Scharnhauser Park that concentrate on requiring less space.
Different ideas, styles and concepts are realized in the Swabian metropolis. The house building industry also doesn’t lack any new ideas in a region with the most filed patents and inventions of the country.
Ecology plays a pivotal role in building and living. The energetic quality of buildings is determined by their insulation and most of all their heating in addition to energy efficient structures.
Every year the housing and real estate companies organized in the association vbw, alone, invest about 1.1 billion euros for building, modernizing and redeveloping their houses.
They increasingly rely on renewable energies. Their measures range from using geothermal energy via heat pumps, solar and wood chip heating systems to using other types of biomass. The companies make use of both combined heat and power and local and district heating. Numerous notable model projects come from the region.
The building density is controlled by a strict land development plan. At present, most of all the city centres are concentrated, fallow lands are covered with buildings and gaps between buildings are filled. Stuttgart alone wants to realize about 5,000 residential units until 2020, by improving the vitalization of building activities. Another 5,000 will follow shortly after.
One thing is clear: Stuttgart offers a high quality of work, life and living. The region is popular and keeps moving, it grows and develops – not least owing to the companies that build and rent out residential space and to the people who work and live here and call this place home.
The vbw Verband baden-württembergischer Wohnungs- und Immobilienunternehmen eV (association of housing and real estate companies in Baden-Württemberg) based in Stuttgart has around 300 member companies. Altogether they manage more than 500,000 residences in the state. This means, one out of eight inhabitants of Baden-Württemberg lives in a home managed by a member company. In 2009 the vbw will celebrate its 100th anniversary.
The author has been the director of the vbw Verband baden-württembergischer Wohnungs- und Immobilienunternehmen eV since 2008. The doctor of agricultural engineering was the president of the state’s trade office Landesgewerbeamt from 1998–2003. From 2004–2006, he was the administrative head of the Ministry of Economic Affairs in Baden-Württemberg. Dr. Bullinger is a member of the the parliament of Baden-Württemberg.