Monitoring infrastructure costs of demographic change in Lower Saxony (MIW nds)

Monitoring infrastructure costs of demographic change in Lower Saxony – MIW nds

Culture Ministry of Lower Saxony

01.09.2010 until 30.06.2014

Brief description
In the course of demographic change, budget restrictions are one of the further challenges communal bodies have to face. Decreasing population numbers and an aging society are leading to higher per-capita costs for infrastructure services. Reducing the corresponding measures firstly often implies high costs (renaturalisation costs) and secondly, is in the light of state obligations towards the remaining population not always feasible (services of general interest).
This project provides Lower Saxon communities and their decision makers with an instrument that identifies the cost development of the existing infrastructure (per capita) until 2030 while taking into consideration demographic change. Previous projections predicting a reduction of 20% of the population as well as of infrastructure costs include neither regionally diverging demographic changes nor regional migration from rural to urban areas. In any case, this does not suffice for a reliable prognosis of communal infrastructure costs. This project’s intended calculation accounts for technical infrastructure such as roads, for electricity, water and gas services delivered by cables as well as social infrastructure (nurseries, schools, retirement homes). Unlike the REFINA-instruments LEAN2 and fokosbw, this instrument employs demographic change and not the comparison of the alternative developments of inner zones and outskirt areas by the community. Therefore, the instrument shows communal decision makers in a transparent manner how a particular community'’s per capita infrastructure costs are modified by demographic change over a specific period of time. This improves the decision situation and enables the community to handle its infrastructure on a long-term basis. The scheme therefore contributes to sustainable town and community development particularly in rural areas. Simultaneously, the project poses the question whether different fee standards should be developed to wisely control the development of costs.
In particular, the project pursues the following goals for the communities:

  • The cost structure (calculated by typification) of existing infrastructure facilities provides important information for the communities and regional development.
  • On this basis, communities may develop middle-term adaptation strategies to reduce or avert the per-capita increase of infrastructure costs.
  • Future projects relevant for infrastructure may not be implemented (or only in an adapted way) in order to shield the inhabitants from long-term costs that are deemed to high.

Co-operation partners
Dr. Mareike Koller, Academy for Spatial Research and Planning

Prof. Dr. Kilian Bizer