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General information - Urban development assistance

What is urban development assistance about?

Cities and municipalities are facing new challenges. They have to be ready to play an active role in the modernisation of social, ecological and economic structures required to meet the demands of demographic shifts, social and economic adaptation processes and the maintenance of infrastructure as well as climate action and the mitigation of the effects of climate change. These challenges will determine the scope of what must be done in Germany in the long term, although the extent will vary depending on the region. At the same time, European integration is changing the conditions for political action at the national level.

The Federation supports the development of sustainable urban structures through urban development assistance programmes in order for cities to be able to better tackle the new tasks and challenges. Urban development assistance is one of the most important tools for supporting sustainable urban development. Local construction and small trade companies will benefit in the long term from investments that are being carried out with support from the Federation in around 2,000 areas of urban development assistance. This assistance helps realise the aims of a socially, economically and ecologically balanced urban development and urban renewal policy.


The aims of urban development assistance are:

  • strengthening the centres of cities and communities in their urban development function while taking into consideration heritage conservation,
  • establishing sustainable urban development structures in areas significantly affected by the loss of urban functions, such as where there are vacant dwellings or undeveloped lots in city centres, especially industrial sites, converted land and railway infrastructure,
  • remedy social deficits,
  • strengthening small and medium-sized towns and communities in rural areas in their function as centres for services of general interest,
  • improving urban green.

Application and assistance

Only cities and municipalities may apply for urban development assistance from the Federation. Applications must be submitted to the competent ministry of the respective Land, which will also select the measures to receive support. Individuals (in areas that are redeveloped or receive support) may apply for grants for certain refurbishment measures from the local government. Support is granted in line with the respective Länder guidelines for urban development assistance. The basis for support is integrated development planning for the area receiving support (Integrated urban development concepts - also see Arbeitshilfe für Kommunen (guidance for municipalities)). Support from urban development assistance must be documented and reported during the construction phase and after the conclusion of the measure.

Legal basis of urban development assistance

In line with Article 104 b Germany’s Basic Law, the Federation grants financial aid to the Länder to support urban development. Pursuant to Article 164 b (1) of the Federal Building Code (BauGB) this is done based on an administrative agreement between the Federation and the Länder. Administrative agreements are adopted on a year-by-year basis. They are published in the Federal Gazette.

Based on the administrative agreements, the support guidelines of the Länder determine the eligibility of measures and projects, priorities and specific criteria for selection. Administrative agreements and support guidelines thus define the programmatic targets. As municipalities have planning autonomy, they are responsible for preparing and implementing urban development measures.

Last update: 25.07.2017