ECONS - WGL PAKT Initiative - Evolving Complex Networks
Regional resource management under environmental and demographic change


DIW Weekly Report, 6(22), 173–181 (2010)

More People, More Jobs: Urban Renaissance in Germany

K. Geppert, M. Gornig

Germany's big cities are gaining in attractiveness both as a place for living and as a location for companies. Even as Germany's total population is declining, the population of cities increased by nearly 3 percent between 1999 and 2008. The same is true for spatial shifts in the economy: During the past 10 years employment in big cities increased by nearly 4 percent while stagnating in Germany as a whole. Demographic and economic trends towards cities influence each other. On the one hand young skilled people are accepting job offers in the cities. On the other hand companies are now taking the preferences of highly skilled employees into account when choosing a location because know-how is scarce. The big cities' new attractiveness is especially appealing to young people with an above-average income. Their main problem is to reconcile their career desires with their wish for a family. Cities are more able to profit from the new trend in people's choice of residence if they create better conditions for children. At the same time, good urban planning can help mitigate the social conflicts and expulsion effects that result from gentrification in the city centers.