Bundesinstitut für Bau-, Stadt- und Raumforschung (Hg.): Raumordnungsprognose 2025/2050. Bevölkerung, private Haushalte, Erwerbspersonen. Bonn: Bundesamt für Bauwesen und Raumordnung (BBR) 2009 (Berichte des Bundesamtes für Bauwesen und Raumordnung 29). 77 S.
The spatial projection of the effects of demographic change is a very important topic and extremely valuable for both understanding and planning spatial development. In times of the Second Demographic Transition (Kaa 2004), uncertainties in terms of fertility behaviour and life style changes increase. For policy makers, projections are often inconvenient as they might contradict policy goals. They are, however, extremely important as a base for action
and adaptation of already established planning instruments. Next to climate change demography is probably the all-dominant driver of future land and natural resources consumption (Lutz 2001, Liu et al. 2003). Few years ago unlimited population growth was taken for granted, but recently voices suggesting decline become louder (Beauregard 2003). Addressing this question, the BBSR’s report takes up a major challenge of spatial development. Germany, the most populated country of the EU, is a very suitable case in point to show the impacts of both population growth and decline in close vicinity, given the in-migration-dominated western and the out-migration-suffering eastern part of the country. The report offers insights into where and why spatial disparities might increase and thus question the overall goal established in the Federal Planning Act “…to ensure equivalent living conditions in entire Germany” (German Federal Planning Act). The well-structured report comprehensively addresses this spatial dichotomy of Germany and its
consequences for the future household and labour force development in a very concise manner. In Section 1 the results of the population projection 2025/2050 are presented: We see that population ageing moves from core cities to the peri-urban surroundings, predominantly in the western part of the country. In addition, the authors predict an extreme oversupply of housing and a rapid decline of house prices. In terms of household types, in 2025, the majority of German households will be one-person households. Reading this, one might reflect about the potential effects for resource consumption and transport development. In Section 2 the methods are described in a comprehensive form and well explained also for non-demographers. Section 3 provides some basic underlying assumptions of the projections. This is a – if any – little shortcoming of this very valuable work since the authors do not use the full spectrum of probable socio-demographic scenarios which the concept of the Second Demographic Transition would offer for their rather conservative calculations of future population size and household distribution. In addition to the textbook, an interactive CD-ROM provides comprehensive supplementary material
in the form of data tables, maps and graphics. I emphatically recommend the booklet to the entire spectrum of graduate students, geographers and spatial planners in order to better understand the geodemographics of a country like Germany.
Beauregard, R. 2003: Voices of Decline: The Post-War Fade of U.S. Cities. New York, London.
Kaa, D. van de 2004: Is the Second Demographic Transition a Useful Research Concept. Vienna. Yearbook of Population Research 2: 4-10
Liu, J., G.C. Daily, P. Ehrlich and G.W. Luck 2003: Effects of Household Dynamics on Resource Consumption and Biodiversity. Nature 421 (6922): 530-532
Lutz, W. 2001: The End of World Population Growth. Nature 412 (6846): 543-545