Phd astridmaurer cover


Astrid Maurer


192 pages

DOI code


Bodenpolitik und gewollter Leerstand

The central research question of this paper is: Is ownership of unoccupied housing in prime locations worth protecting? In summary, the answer is that intentional vacancy is protected under real estate law, but whether intentional vacancy in the wake of large-scale speculative investment projects is worth protecting is more controversial.

How does the answer to the central research question turn out when the future perspectives for inner-city living are subject to a constant process of change. Concerning market events and owner behavior, the state has so far tended to intervene in a guiding manner.

Within the framework of an explorative and deductive research design, part A considers the phenomenon of volitional vacancy in the housing segment in general terms and elaborates on it on the basis of a property law analysis and the perspective of various property theorists. These aspects of volitional vacancy are applied to a case study (part B). In a final step (part C), an inductive normative approach is pursued in the context of a building policy discussion and future development potentials are derived.

The paper is based on three methodological steps to answer the central research question. The first step focuses on developing a basic understanding of the phenomenon of volitional vacancy (examining three definitional horizons of volitional vacancy: historical anchoring of volitional vacancy, an analysis of the property law anchoring of volitional vacancy or non-use of private property, and a property theory approach). The second step uses a case study to examine the extent to which the results from the first part can be observed in a concrete housing market situation. The third methodological step of this paper links the first two and places volitional vacancy in the context of a land policy discussion.

Keeping the different definitional horizons of volitional vacancy in mind, it is concluded that as soon as the creation of housing, affordable housing, depends on private market actors and can no longer be carried out solely by the municipality as the responsible actor, the handling of property can no longer be clearly assessed.

Note: This thesis is written in German language and contains an abstract in English.

About the author

Dr. Astrid Maurer teaches and conducts research on land policy and valuation at the TU Dortmund University in the Faculty of Spatial Planning. Previously, the human geographer worked for several years in a private real estate appraisal office, where her work focused not only on research for and the preparation of appraisals, but also on market and location analyses. Since 2021 she has been an IHK-certified appraiser. In 2022 she received her doctorate on intentional vacancy.