Institute of the Weltethos Foundation
at the University of Tübingen

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Affordable and climate-friendly housing? – A review of the event

The housing sector needs a socio-ecological transformation. In times of acute housing shortages and a pressing climate crisis, new concepts and ideas are urgently needed. Instead of playing off social and ecological necessity against each other, housing, climate protection and the social issue must be considered and tackled together. Gunnar Lauffer-Stark from nestbau AG presented an example of how this can be achieved at the Global Ethic Institute on February 21. Together with Magdalena Szabert from Eurban, a London-based timber construction company, the founder of Bürgeraktiengesellschaft nestbau AG presented the cornerstones for socio-ecological housing construction, which the two are currently implementing together with the “Neschtle” in Tübingen-Pfrondorf.

The event was organized by the Network of Friends of the Global Ethic Institute.

Immediately after a warm welcome and the opening of the event, Maurizio Gasperi, Chairman of the Friends’ Association, asked how the housing shortage could be tackled in a targeted manner. But also how to resolve the conflicting goals between social demands, ecological aspects and returns. During the evening, Gunnar Laufer-Stark, CEO of nestbau AG, and Magda Szabert from Eurban provided answers to this pertinent question from various perspectives.

Interested participants were able to get an idea of this at the well-attended evening event organized by the Freundeskreis. Laufer-Stark described how a citizens’ association can invest money not just for the benefit of a few, but for the greatest possible benefit of many. “A working group is primarily committed to its statutes and in our case it should serve social and ecological urban development.” To date, nestbau AG has managed to create living space for 90 people with around 500 shareholders. “Even in current times, this is still possible,” said Laufer-Stark, adding that “you just need significantly more equity due to the high interest rates”, referring to the subscription certificates.

Architect Szabert from Eurban explained why wood as a building material plays an important role in the transformation of the construction sector. “Timber construction even stores C02 instead of releasing C02 like steel and concrete,” she argued. “As young trees absorb more CO2 than older ones, timber construction is actually climate-friendly if you plant enough young trees,” Szabert continued. “Unfortunately, the building regulations in Germany, such as fire protection, are an obstacle to this,” said the timber construction expert, “we need to be more daring again and not have the traumas of the city fires in the Middle Ages in mind, after all, there are wooden houses in the old town of Tübingen that have been there for hundreds of years and still look good.”

Der Abend zeigte einerseits, es gibt tatsächlich greifbare Ansätze für eine ökosoziale Transformation im Wohnsektor und andererseits, dass das Interesse dafür und der Bedarf danach groß sind.