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ARCH+ Internship | Blog 02/2018 | Ilkin Akpinar

"Property means responsibility! Its use should also serve the common good."

ARCH+ 231 printing plate: The Property Issue. Photo: Sto Foundation/ARCH +

During the second part of my internship, I focused primarily on the ARCH+ issue 231 "The Property Issue" – Von der Bodenfrage und neuen Gemeingütern. I concentrated on the compilation of a glossary on the topic of land policy, which I wrote together with Lorenz Seidl. With regard to the public authorities, what kinds of control methods exist?

For this issue, focus was placed on three areas: The active land policy of the public authorities, the collective development model and the passive land policy through taxes and compensation payments. The latter is currently quite a controversial issue. This week, the constitutional court classified property tax as unconstitutional in its current form – with a total of 13 billion euros a year, it is one of the most important municipal sources of revenue. To date, this has been levied on land including its development, whereby the tax rate is determined via unit values which are significantly outdated and no longer commensurate with the actual land values. In Western Germany, the assessment basis is based on the land values of 1964, while Eastern Germany utilises those from before the Second World War (1935). Furthermore, it does not matter if there are ruins or a property on the land boasting a tripled value thanks to the building boom – the assessment basis remains the same.

There are many alternative suggestions, and these have been formulated since the 1970s. Hans-Jochen Vogel, the then head mayor of Munich and then federal minister for Regional Planning, Building and Urban Development, reported in ARCH+ 231 regarding his understanding of land and property as a collaborative, non-negotiable commodity, comparable with water and air, and also his land reform based on this which had originally been scuppered. Maybe the time is now.

Ilkin Akpinar

Ilkin Evin Akpinar is a graduate of TU Berlin. She was awarded a 6-month scholarship to work on "The Land Question". Against the backdrop of increasing land speculation and privatisation of public spaces, this question is defining our coexistence to an ever greater extent.