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Where affordable living space is being created in Thurgau today

Where affordable living space is being created in Thurgau today

The canton of Thurgau is not actively promoting affordable housing today. The city of Arbon does not do that either - and yet it is being built there.

  • On February 9th, the national popular initiative “More affordable housing” will be voted on.
  • The proportion of non-profit housing construction in Thurgau is highest in Arbon. The city does not have any direct funding instruments.
  • Further charitable apartments are planned in the town of Oberthurgau.
  • Unlike Frauenfeld: Since April 2016, the capital has had regulations on the promotion of affordable housing.

Arbon leads the ranking in Thurgau. In 2017, 4.9 percent or 381 apartments in the city on Lake Constance met the criteria for non-profit housing construction (January 27th edition). The rents of these apartments are cheaper. In contrast to market rent, you only have to cover the costs. Returns don't count.

The subject is currently on the agenda in Switzerland. The “More affordable housing” initiative will be voted on on February 9th. It demands that in future at least ten percent of the newly built apartments must belong to non-profit property developers, such as cooperatives. The Federal Council and Parliament reject it with reference to the constitution: This guarantees the promotion of non-profit housing construction even without a rigid quota.

High quota in Oberthurgau

Arbon has no municipal funding program. This is what city clerk Andrea Schnyder and City Councilor Didi Feuerle (Greens) say on request. But why is the rate in Arbon comparatively high? Feuerle locates an explanation in the history book. Arbon was a working-class town (Saurer). The labor movement shaped developments in the place. In many places, cooperative housing is an achievement of the labor movement.

This story continues in Arbon. The Ziegelhütte Arbon cooperative is planning around 50 residential units on the site of the former Protestant retirement and nursing home. The parish, which owns the approximately 7,500 square meters of land, has agreed to the surrender under building law. For 100 years. Inge Abegglen, SP Cantonal Councilor from Arbon, is working on the project. She sends ahead:

"There is currently a lot of construction going on in Arbon, but unfortunately in the wrong price segment."

There is a demand for affordable apartments. One day, single people and families, young and old alike, will find a home in the cooperative settlement.

“The opportunity to meet is also central,” says Abegglen. In the former retirement and nursing home there will be a guest room, a hall and workshops. The building plot is located in the middle of the settlement. “That is certainly a contribution to internal compression,” says Abegglen. The first tenants should be able to move in in “a good two years”.

In contrast to Arbon, Frauenfeld has a funding instrument: Since April 2016, the city has had the “Regulations on the Funding of Inexpensive Housing”. Funding is to be provided through the acquisition and disposal of suitable land and through the granting of loans. The aim is also to achieve a “social mix in as many neighborhoods as possible”. In the 2017 survey, 3.4 percent or 431 apartments were in the non-profit segment.

The cantonal vote fell through 25 years ago

The canton has no funding policy. Regarding the vote, the responsible government councilor Carmen Haag says:

"The government will not take a position on the initiative because in their eyes Thurgau is no more affected by the initiative than other cantons."

It is not the first time that the Thurgau people have been interviewed. On September 25, 1994, voters rejected the Law on Housing and Property Promotion. This is surprising when you first look in the rearview mirror. The motion on which the law was based was passed unanimously in the Grand Council. When it came to legal advice, the majority had melted.

"The FDP rejected it as the wrong path and model of market-distorting regulations," noted the SDA. Only SP and CVP were in favor. This can be seen in the light of the changed overall weather situation: The state had to save due to the recession, lower interest rates cooled the real estate market.

The door for the national initiative is only ajar in Thurgau. From the Grand Council parties, they support the Greens and the SP. On the other hand are SVP, GLP, CVP, FDP, EDU, EVP and BDP.