47th International Cities Forum 2024

“Ensuring adequate, safe and affordable housing as a municipal challenge”

Saturday, June 22

Every year, delegations from the partner and befriended cities are invited to Kiel Week to discuss a particular municipal topic at the International Cities Forum. The event therefore has high potential for the international work of the state capital Kiel.



Gruppenbild mit den Beteiligten

What it's all about in 2024

This year, the City of Kiel’s International City Forum will be focusing on the subject of “Ensuring adequate, safe and affordable housing as a municipal challenge”.

Creating living space in cities and improving people's living conditions is an important municipal task and part of public service provision.

The 11th Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of the United Nations stipulates that all cities and communities are to ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services. 

Over the past few years, the debate surrounding the general housing situation in Germany, which is characterised by a housing shortage and high rents, at least in urban areas, has intensified further.

The effects of the coronavirus pandemic, the urbanisation trend, high rates of immigration by refugees, rising building costs – partly as a result of the stricter requirements necessary in the context of climate protection and resource efficiency – and rising interest rates are making the situation worse.

Cities are working to ease the pressure on the housing market by funding new construction work, implementing densification measures and expanding existing municipal housing construction companies or establishing new ones.

One of the most urgent social issues, in Kiel too, is the question of how to provide enough affordable housing. It is difficult for students and families to find suitable housing.

Vulnerable groups, such as people in debt, out of work, with a refugee background, with addiction problems or other illnesses, are particularly affected by the challenging housing situation. There are currently 2,400 homeless people inOne of the most urgent social issues, in Kiel too, is the question of how to provide enough affordable housing. It is difficult for students and families to find suitable housing. Kiel.

Within the framework of the International City Forum, representatives of the City of Kiel and its partner cities as well as other experts from academia and civil society will together consider various aspects regarding the provision of housing in cities and municipalities.

A core element of the event are the three subject-specific workshops, running in parallel to one another, in which the participating cities will use two to three practical examples to discuss opportunities and challenges as well as knowledge gained from tried and tested approaches.

All participants have the opportunity to select one workshop. All three workshops will be conducted in German and English, consecutive interpreting will also be provided by whispering interpreters.

The three workshops form part of a framework programme comprising a keynote speech, a dialogue discussion, the presentation of the workshop results and a concluding panel discussion. The schedule for the International City Forum is set out in the attached agenda. 

The Workshops

After the registration deadline, the decision was drawn to merge workshops I Opportunities and challenges in municipal housing construction and 2 Approaches and instruments to tackle homelessness in cities and municipalities.

The content of the two workshops will be combined and the case studies presented will address aspects of both topics. 


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Mehr Informationen über unsere Partnerstädte und befreundeten Städte sowie die internationale Arbeit der Stadt unter

Kiel bereitet seine Verkehrswende vor. Das Öffentliche Nahverkehrsystem wird eine deutliche Aufwertung erfahren.

Für die Landeshauptstadt Kiel ist das Thema Mobilität 2022 von besonderem Interesse. Bereits 2017 hatte Kiel gemeinsam mit den umliegenden Kreisen Rendsburg-Eckernförde und Plön einen „Masterplan Mobilität“ verabschiedet. Einer der zentralen Punkte in diesem Handlungskonzept ist neben dem Ausbau des Fahrradnetzes auch die Entwicklung eines tragfähigen innerstädtischen ÖPNV-Netzes. Im kommenden Jahr soll die Entscheidung darüber fallen, wie der Stadtverkehr Kiels in Zukunft aussehen soll. Aktuell erarbeiten die Verkehrsplaner*innen eine Trassenstudie, die die beiden Alternativen – Schnellbusse (BRT) oder Stadtbahn (Tram) – in ihren Vor- und Nachteilen gegenüberstellt. Die Studie soll Ende 2022 abgeschlossen sein und eine Entscheidungsgrundlage für die Kieler Ratsversammlung bilden. Eine Diskussion mit unseren internationalen Partnerstädten über deren Mobilitätskonzepte für die Zukunft ist somit für Kiel im kommenden Jahr besonders wertvoll.

Ziel des Städteforums 2022 soll es daher sein, mit den Partnerstädten über die unterschiedlichen Aspekte von urbaner Mobilität und die Herausforderungen der Mobilitätswende in einen Austausch zu kommen. Nach einem einführenden Impulsvortrag der Mobilitätsexpertin Katja Diehl sowie einem Dialoggespräch zwischen Oberbürgermeister Dr. Ulf Kämpfer und Jana Kühl, Professorin für Radmanagement an der Ostfalia Universität, wird es Workshops zu vier verschiedenen Aspekten von Mobilität geben: 

  • Stärkung des emissionsarmen Öffentlichen Personennahverkehrs (ÖPNV)
  • Ausbau von Fuß- und Radverkehr
  • Digitalisierung und Mobilitätswende
  • Mobilität rund ums Wasser

Abgerundet wird die Veranstaltung durch eine kurze Podiumsdiskussion, die auch Vertreter*innen der Zivilgesellschaft mit einbeziehen soll. Als Querschnittsthema soll dabei immer mitgedacht und diskutiert werden, wie die städtische Bevölkerung mitgenommen und für die Mobilitätswende begeistert werden kann. Der Austausch und die internationale Kooperation mit Kiels Partnerstädten kann bei der Entwicklung von Lösungsansätzen für die Herausforderungen der Mobilitätswende wichtige Impulse geben.


Agenda & Workshops


The two workshops are part of a supporting program consisting of expert input and a concluding panel discussion.

All participants have the opportunity to choose one workshop. The workshops will be held only in English. Other languages ​​are supported through consecutive translation.


From 9 a.m.

Arrival of Participants

9.30 a.m. – 9.45 a.m.

Welcoming and Opening remarks

Götz Bormann, CEO Förde Sparkasse

Bettina Aust, President of the City Council Kiel

Jan Johannsmeier, Introduction to the conference

9.45 a.m. – 10.05 a.m.

Keynote Speech 

Prof. Dr. Rainer Wehrhahn, Professor at the Institute for Geography, Christian-Albrechts-University Kiel

10.05 a.m. – 10.30 a.m.

Talk on the challenges in providing housing for municipalities

Dr. Ulf Kämpfer, Mayor, City of Kiel

François Cuillandre, Mayor, City of Brest

10.30 a.m. – 11.15 a.m. 

Group Photo & Short Break

11.15 a.m. – 12.45 p.m.

Workshop session

Workshop I: Challenges and instruments of municipal housing policy to create sufficient (social) housing

Workshop II: Housing in times of socio-environmental transformation

12.45 p.m. – 1.45 p.m. 


1.45 p.m. – 2.45 p.m.

Final Presentation & Panel Discussion

2.45 p.m. – 3 p.m.

Closing Remarks

Bettina Aust, President of the City Council Kiel

Practice example 1:

Marie Bargmann, Department of City Planning, Kiel: „Technical Naval School Kiel Wik. Conversion and joint building ventures: New ways to affordable housing?"

Practice example 2: 

Anja Währer and Svea Rohwer, Department of Housing and Social Security, Kiel: „Homeless assistance in the state capital of Kiel“

For several years now, housing in many German cities has been treated increasingly as a private investment opportunity with high expected returns.

In many places, homes are becoming a commodity and the basic right to a home is coming under growing pressure. Many people can no longer afford the homes they have lived in until now and are being pushed out of their neighbourhoods.

At the same time, new privately financed housing does not often correspond with the actual requirements of the particular city district, which are overlooked or “built past”.

More and more cities and municipalities are attempting to counter this development by being more committed to municipal housing construction. The aim is for housing to remain (more) affordable for the long term and for established social environments and neighbourhoods to be preserved by having a higher proportion of homes in municipal ownership.

Despite their commitment, many cities and municipalities also face the challenge of continuously rising homelessness with limited space and funds to provide adequate housing. The causes of homelessness are complex: private crises such as divorce, loss of employment or ill health, mental illnesses or trauma from experiences as refugees or victims of violence, alcohol or drug abuse, can all result in people losing their homes.

In addition to insufficient capacities to simply accommodate those affected, there is a lack of appropriate services offering psycho-social and health support. As a result, many people are no longer able to find their way out of homelessness, which also places a strain on the social support systems.

There are, however, strategies on how to effectively tackle homelessness that have been tried and tested internationally. The “Housing First” strategy, for example, takes the approach of providing people affected by homelessness with their own home first in order to then be able to organise all further support from this secure basis. Secure housing is therefore understood here as the starting point and not the goal of the support. This gives those affected the opportunity to lead a self-determined life once again.

Key questions:

  • What, in general, can cities and municipalities do to provide sufficient affordable housing using resources from “publicly funded housing construction”?
  • What actual opportunities for public funding exist in the various cities?
  • What scope (legal, planning) or what instruments do cities and municipalities have at all compared to the private housing market?
  • How can a good mix of public/municipal vs. privately funded housing be achieved for the long term, particularly with regard to aspects of affordability and resource-efficient construction?
  • How can housing be better protected, e.g. how can unused (private) housing be mobilised? Which approaches and instruments have been tried and tested to date and are available for this purpose?
  • Which groups of people are particularly affected by homelessness and how can the causes be recognised/addressed at an early stage?
  • Which instruments and measures can municipal and city councils take to adequately tackle homelessness in their municipalities?
  • How can corresponding measures or investments be financed today in order to establish long-term solutions for the future?
  • Who are the key cooperation partners, e.g. from civil society and private industry, to effectively combat homelessness? 

Practice example 1:

Anna Myllymäki, Urban Planner: „Innovative housing for ageing Europe – Best practices from Vaasa“

Practice example 2:

Konstanze Meißner, Project Manager Holtenau Ost: „Kiel’s Future Quarter in the North. Achieving Visions.“

Many cities have experienced years of steady population growth corresponding with the continuing global urbanisation trend. At the same time, cities must and want to make a significant contribution to adapting to climate change with its accompanying challenges regarding the transitions in energy, heating and transport and the question of how all these changes can be made acceptable to society. “Carrying on as before” is no longer an option.

Additional investments in new housing and infrastructure in their current form are no longer enough. In fact, the economic, social and environmental challenges of our time require a rethink at all levels: how, in terms of architecture, materials and functionality, do we want to buiMany cities have experienced years of steady population growth corresponding with the continuing global urbanisation trend. At the same time, cities must and want to make a significant contribution to adapting to climate change with its accompanying challenges regarding the transitions in energy, heating and transport and the question of how all these changes can be made acceptable to society. “Carrying on as before” is no longer an option. ld today and in the future? How can these new paradigms be incorporated into legislation and planning?

There is certainly no shortage of innovative ideas for new forms of housing, determined by, among other things, a continuously changing living and working environment producing changing requirements for homes and their surroundings. Together with innovative solutions for creating housing, new forms of community, neighbourhood and district development also play an important role here. Furthermore, there is potential in many cities to create new housing by repurposing existing buildings and through re-densification.

Cities and municipalities have become important players in dealing with socio-environmental transformation in terms of sustainable urban development that both meets the needs of their residents and takes into account the environmental requirements for reduced use of energy and space. In the best case scenario, the quality of urban living spaces will even improve in the long term. 

Key questions: 

  • How are the subjects of housing and socio-environmental transformation connected and what contribution can be made to sustainable urban development within the framework of housing construction?
  • How can alternative / innovative forms of housing be promoted? What incentives can be provided for this (e.g. for residents or private investors)?
  • How can cities and municipalities meet the increased and ever more complex planning requirements?
  • What new or additional requirements will arise from this in terms of the participation of civil society and cooperation with private industry (i.e. private property developers and investors)?
  • What approaches to and examples of sustainable repurposing and re-densification of housing stock already exist? What can be learned from them?

Results of the workshops

The core of the event was formed by three thematic workshops in which the participants, i.e. representatives of various partner cities, used two to three practical examples to talk about opportunities and challenges as well as the knowledge gained from tried and tested approaches.

Individually, during the four workshops the following aspects were tackled, discussed and can be summarized as follows.

Read the complete documentation here
Graphic record Workshop I
Workshop I
Graphic record workshop 2
Workshop II


Vitalii Bielobrov


Vitalii Bielobrov´s background is in economics and finance, in 2014 he was recognized as the Best Financial Consultant of Ukraine.

Since 2020, Deputy of Cherson City Council, Secretary of Deputy Commission on Entrepreneurship Development, Tourism, Transport and Infrastructure.

He has also been an adviser to the Cherson Сity Mayor on attracting grants and investments, developing international partnerships and cooperations.

During 2022, he engaged in volunteer activities, headed the humanitarian headquarters of support for IDPs of the Cherson Region in Odesa. In 2022, he worked as the Head of the Investments and Export Development Office of Cherson Regional State Administration. From April 2023 – in the position of Deputy Cherson Сity Mayor.

Marie Bargmann


Marie Bargmann has been working in the city planning office of the city of Kiel since 2022. She is primarily responsible for city-wide mobility issues and supports topics related to housing.

Currently, she is supporting the project focused on the conversion of the "Technische Marineschule" in Kiel Wik.

She studied Geography at the Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel (CAU) and Urban Planning at the Technische Hochschule Lübeck. She was also a research assistant in the urban planning department at TH Lübeck.

Miriam Gyamfi


Miriam Gyamfi is a certified organisational developer with a propensity for social entrepreneurship. She regularly advises teams and organisations on meaningful paths towards sustainable change. She has a keen eye for the requirements of effective communication and collaboration.

During the International Cities Forum she will moderate Workshop I: Challenges and instruments of municipal housing policy to create sufficient (social) housing.


Moritz Jerchow


Moritz Jerchow has been working in the city planning office of the state capital of Kiel for almost six years. He is primarily responsible for city-wide issues relating to housing and housing development.

His current focus is on the conversion of the “Technische Marineschule” Kiel Wik.

He studied urban and regional planning (B.A.) and urban and regional development (M.A.) in Kassel. Between 2013 and 2018, he worked as an urban planner in the city planning offices of Nordhorn, the district office of Hamburg Mitte and in the private housing industry.

Jan Johannsmeier


Jan Johannsmeier is a Geographer, organisational developer and mediator. 

His focus is on event moderation and facilitation, trainings on leadership, cooperation management and team building as well as on project management and strategy consulting, with a focus on social inclusion, sustainable economic development and climate change adaptation.

Facilitating dialogue and exchange among different stakeholders is a key element in all his areas of work.

During the International Cities Forum he will be in charge of the overall conference moderation.

Dr. Ulf Kämpfer


Dr Ulf Kämpfer (SPD) has been Mayor of the Land Capital Kiel since April 2014 and currently serves his second term.

Ulf Kämpfer is also Head of the Economic Department of the City of Kiel, Chairman of the Schleswig-Holstein Association of Cities and Deputy President of the German Association of Cities.

Topics and challenges that are particularly important to the Mayor are the social cohesion of the people of Kiel, the advancement of the mobility transformation and the development of Kiel into a climate-neutral, future-oriented northern European city that brings together global and local responsibility.


Aleksandra Kosiorek


Aleksandra Kosiorek studied law and administration at the University of Gdańsk. She was a legal advisor and co-owner of a law firm for many years until she took office as Mayor of Gdynia.

As part of her professional activity, she specialized in medical law, human rights, as well as civil and compensation cases.

Aleksandra Kosiorek is also a court mediator and author. Among other things, she is involved in free legal aid for people in need and is one of the organizers of the protests against the reform of the legal system, a leader of the women's strike and involved in relief operations after the outbreak of war in Ukraine.

Konstanze Meißner


Konstanze Meißner is responsible for the process of converting a 78-hectare former military site in the north of Kiel.

Before joining Kiel City Council in 2013 and taking over the management of the project in 2016, she worked for various municipalities and offices in the field of urban development and urban regeneration.

The civil service was not the only duty to prepare Konstanze Meißner as construction assessor for the complexity and multi-faceted nature of her current role. Her degree in urban and regional planning and her qualification in architectual drafting, both acquired in Berlin, provided as well a good basis for this.

Anton Mikoleit

Anton Mikoleit is a certified facilitator and organizational consultant.

In the last years he accompanied and facilitated different events from small to large groups, gave trainings and accompanied organizational consulting processes, team development processes, and strategy building processes mainly in the public secor, in the education sector as well as development cooperation.

During the International Cities Forum he will moderate Workshop II: Housing in times of socio-ecological transformation.


Anna Myllymäki


Anna Myllymäki studied urban planning in Delft. Her Master’s thesis explored urban space through the eyes of vulnerable communities.

She has a varied background in architecture and urbanism both in Finland and the Netherlands, and is currently working as an urban planner for the City of Vaasa. Her main focus is on participatory planning and urban renewal. She also facilitates collaborative actions with non-profit organizations and the local government.

Cédric Peinturier


Cédric Peinturier has been Head of the Housing Department at Brest, City and Métropole since 2021.

Since 2022, he has also been an associate professor of spatial planning at the Université de Bretagne Occidentale (UBO) at the "Institut de Géoarchitecture".

Before coming to Brest, he worked for 14 years as a civil engineer in various departments of the French State, in charge of economic evaluation of public policies, environmental assessment, disaster prevention and management, housing and urban planning.

Sebastian Rehbach


Sebastian Rehbach is Deputy Managing Director of stadt.mission.mensch gGmbH, which operates several advice centers and emergency shelters for homeless people in Kiel on behalf of the City of Kiel.

He studied sociology and social economics at the Universities of Siegen and Hamburg.


Swea Rohwer


Swea Rohwer has been head of public service for homeless assistance, prevention of homelessness and housing brokerage in the state capital of Kiel since February 2022.

As trained nurse and qualified social worker, she has worked in various fields of social work and nursing for more than 20 years.

Gerwin Stöcken,


Gerwin Stöcken is a state-approved educator, he studied social work and pedagogy, graduating with a degree in social pedagogy.

He was Head of the Sub-Department for General Social Services and was in charge of the social law reform to merge social welfare and unemployment assistance into unemployment benefit “ALG II” at the city. When the Job Centre Kiel was founded, he became one of two managing directors.

He has been Deputy Mayor for Social Affairs, Housing, Health and Sport since 2014.

Anja Währer


Anja Währer has been working for more than 20 years in the social field at the state capital of Kiel. She has gained experience in different areas such as granting of benefits and integration into the labor market, leading teams in various stations.

Since 2018 she has been leading the unit of housing sector with a focus on housing promotion. She has been acting director of the Office for Housing and Basic Security at the state capital of Kiel since April this year.

Anja Währer holds a title as Diplom-Verwaltungswirt (FH), which she gained during her dual study program from 1990 to 1993 at Verwaltungsfachhochschule Altenholz.


Prof. Dr. Rainer Wehrhahn


Rainer Wehrhahn is professor for urban and population geography at Kiel University.

Research foci are urban and housing geographies, migration studies und human-environmental relationships from a social geography perspective. He is particularly interested in social inequality, housing politics and migration issues from a critical human geography approach questioning power structures and processes of dispossession, exclusion and discrimination in the context of social and environmental (in)justices.

He is currently member of international working groups on Resilient Metropolitan Regions in Europe and on the impacts of financialization for urban peripheries in Brazil and Germany.