The Federal Office for Building and Regional Planning

Scientific programme support

In the executive agreement on the implementation of urban development grants that is concluded annually, the federal government and states agree to provide continuous support from the beginning for and evaluate state-funded urban development measures in terms of their sustainable effectiveness.

Accompanying research and knowledge transfer

The federal government has at its disposal up to 0.2% of the financial assistance from the programmes on urban development grants that it can use for programme-specific accompanying research. Not only in the initial phase, but also during the ongoing implementation of the individual programmes does the federal government aim to provide intensive support for the urban development grant programmes. The Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community (BMI) has handed responsibility for accompanying research to the German Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development (BBSR), within the Federal Office for Building and Regional Planning (BBR).

The BMI, together with the BBSR, commissions research institutes with the maintenance of programme-specific National Contact Points. The National Contact Points of the individual programmes serve to support the exchange of experience and to utilise the knowledge of the actors involved in the programmes - from the federal government, the states and municipalities, scientists, associations and housing companies - for the further development of the programmes.

The programme-specific research projects deal with current issues arising from the ongoing programme implementation. They thus form an important basis for the future design and continuous improvement of the urban development grant programmes.

Expert's opinions and expertise

There are currently a number of scientific surveys, analyses and reports available for analysing the economic and labour market effects of urban development financial assistance. Both the number and principals and the intensity of this work confirm the high priority that the expert and political public attach to the economic and labour market significance of urban development grants.

Even though each study or report focuses on different topics, the expert's opinions confirm unanimously the positive economic, labour market and fiscal effects of urban development grants. Particularly the substantial triggering and bundling effects of urban development grants on public and private construction investments, as well as the sectoral and regional precision of objectives relative to investments, constitute programme success factors, especially for small and medium sized enterprises.

Urban development grant monitoring of the BBSR

A key component in meeting the reporting duties on the status and implementation of urban development grant programmes and their evaluation is a monitoring system. The legal basis of such monitoring of urban development grants is set out in the Basic Law (Article 104 b, paragraphs 2 and 3) in the provisions regarding the review of the use of financial assistance as well as on the reporting duties vis-à-vis the Bundestag (German Parliament), the federal government and Bundesrat (upper chamber of Parliament) concerning the implementation of the measures.

The BBSR maintains a monitoring system that documents all measures funded in connection with the federal-state programmes regarding urban development grants. Essential elements of the system include the programme type and status, designation of measures, municipal identifiers, and financial assistance per programme year. Using the municipal identifiers, it is possible to combine this information with the characteristics of the ongoing regional monitoring of the BBSR. This way, for example, it is possible to carry out analyses on the regional focus and the type of measures across German territory, as well as on the distribution of financial assistance.

Between the introduction of urban development grants in 1971 and 2010, around 6,600 measures were funded in over 2,600 cities and municipalities. Of those, approx. 4,300 measures went to the states of former West Germany, and around 2,300 measures to the states of former East Germany. Meanwhile, approx. 1,600 measures have been completed, i.e., fully funded and accounted for (primarily in states of the West).

Between 1971 and 2011, the federal government provided total funds of approx. 14 billion euros in financial assistance for measures related to urban development grants. Of that amount, approx. 6.8 billion euros flowed to states of the West and - since 1990 - approx. 7.2 billion euros to states of the East. Without accounting for price trends, this means that the states of former East Germany received more financial assistance in 21 years following German reunification than the former West in 40 years.


Apart from ongoing monitoring, the evaluation of the urban development grant programmes is yet another key element. It serves to assess strategies pursued and programme implementation progress achieved at the federal, state and municipal levels and to draw conclusions for future programme design. An ongoing compilation of the experience gained from the various programmes of urban development grants finally also involves a nationwide survey of local contacts in the programme areas.

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