Urban development of Leipzig
The city of Leipzig has undergone dynamic changes over the past few decades, resulting in a forward-looking city that seizes opportunities and actively seeks out and responds to new challenges. This is partly in order to sharpen its competitive advantages over other cities.
Ever since Reunification in 1990, Leipzig has risen to the challenges and taken advantage of the opportunities that sprang out of the transformation process. The many phases of urban development have had lasting effects on the fabric of the city, for example the historic city centre, the Gründerzeit districts, and the social housing projects of the GDR. Leipzig city planners and public officials are aware of the importance of long term impacts of decisions made today. Thus, all of the city's activities need to be integrated into the city's long range strategic plan in order to provide a cohesive, lasting and successful urban fabric.
Many challenges arose during the 1990s. The dissolution of the city's industries led to a loss of 100,000 jobs. The state of the city's housing market led to intensive suburbanisation, accelerating the decline of the population, as the need to renovate and modernise the housing market was exceedingly high. Retailers and other businesses went through the same process of leaving the city, having better prospects in the more desirable suburbs. The processes of suburbanisation and emigration to the West left many older residential units vacant.
Urban development planning
The above-mentioned circumstances and challenges led to the construction of strategic urban development planning in the middle of the 1990s. Urban development planning concerns itself with making well-informed, strategic decisions regarding the future of the urban and living spaces for Leipzig residents.
Sectoral urban development plans are characterised through narrow terms in hopes to spur innovative conversion projects and continuous spatial observations.
The City Development Concept, Stadtentwicklungskonzept or SEKo, leads the city's development projects that integrates multiple components into the planning process. The SEKo took years to develop and refine and was approved by the city council in 2009. The integrated approach is in keeping with the EU's Leipzig Charter for sustainable urban development, and combines sectoral urban development strategies and sectoral plans from different departments into one cohesive urban development concept. It is intended to lead Leipzig's development planning through 2020.
Population and Households
In 1933, Leipzig boasted a population of 713,000 and was the fifth-largest city in Germany. However, the population would decline steadily for the next 65 years, with the exception of a short period after the Second World War. Between 1989 and 1998 alone, Leipzig lost nearly 100,000 of its former 530,000 residents. The population seemed to bottom out in 1998 at approximately 437,000 residents. The redrawing of municipal administrative boundaries and the annexation of neighbouring villages in 1999 and 2000, however, attributed approximately an additional 60,000 residents to the city, somewhat offsetting the effects of suburbanisation. Many of the new residents were among those who left during the previous 10 years.
In the decade following the annexation of surrounding villages and suburbs, Leipzig's population increased from approximately 493,000 to more than 522,000 in 2010. This slight, but steady, increase in population growth is expected to continue until 2020. For the time being, a continuing increase in the number of households is also expected. This is a trend that reflects the tendency of young people to live alone longer before starting a family.