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Urban Development Modernization Measures

The urban development modernization measure is an instrument that comes under the special building laws covering the urban renewal of entire quarters. The legal basis for urban development modernization measures is regulated by sections 136 - 164 of the German Town and Country Planning Code (BauGB).

Modernization measures serve to rectify shortcomings in the urban fabric. These are deemed to exist if an area, with regard to the buildings or other characteristics of it, does not fulfill general requirements in terms of healthy living and working conditions or the safety of the people living and working there, or if the area is considerably constrained in its ability to fulfill the duties incumbent upon it given its location and function.
Shortcomings in the urban fabric include in particular:

  • the juxtaposition of mutually incompatible facilities,
  • a lack of links to public transportation,
  • a lack of infrastructure, i.e., areas of greenery, sports facilities and playgrounds, and everyday facilities in an area,
  • contaminated ground,
  • a lack of shopping facilities or other general amenities.

There is a formal procedure for modernization work. The fundamental steps are:

  1. Preparatory examinations
  2. Formal specification of the modernization area by means of a by-law
  3. Implementation of the modernization work (regulatory and building measures)
  4. Completion of the modernization.

Once the modernization by-law comes into force, thereafter the construction, alteration or change in use of structures, the division of a plot of land and sale of a plot of land, as well as the creation and sale of hereditary building rights all require special approval.

Regulatory and construction measures must be conducted in order to rectify the aspects in need of modernization and revitalize the area in question. It is the duty of the municipality to conduct regulatory measures. Possible regulatory measures include land management, the relocation of residents and companies, the clearance of plots of land, the creation and alteration of access paths, or other measures needed for the construction work to be carried out.

It is the duty of the property owners to implement the building measures. These include in particular the construction of new or substitute buildings, the modernization, overhaul and relocation of companies and if necessary changes to the firms’ operations.

Unlike legal site planning, which only creates the legal framework for the urban development, an urban modernization measure also aims to realize the planning objectives swiftly within a clear period of time. The execution of an urban modernization measure is thus not a planned proposal.

In the period 1986 to 2015, in Frankfurt/Main the “Ostendstrasse” urban renewal measure was carried out. Once the objectives of the measure had been achieved the statues covering the renewal work were abolished. For further information on the Ostendstrasse renewal process, please click here.


Example: urban redevelopment measure on Ostendstraße, before and after redevelopment