US and German Federal Governments Support GMF Cities’ Breaking Barriers Project

November 04, 2022
4 min read
GMF Cities embarks on a project exploring and researching affordable housing policies in six cities across the world.

BRUSSELS —Today the German Marshall Fund is delighted to announce the launch of the GMF Cities’ “Breaking Barriers: Affordable Housing in Cities for All” project, made possible with the support and grants from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Housing, Urban Development and Building’s (BMWSB). 

The Breaking Barriers project seeks to improve policy knowledge and practice to improve the access and availability of affordable housing in cities, and to explore its role in building integrated communities. Specifically, the project will be convening a cohort of practitioners from six US and German cities to inform and ground applied expert research. The research will seek to uncover insights and recommendations to improve both local and federal policies and practices related to increasing availability of affordable housing in cities. The cities participating in this project are Berlin, Frankfurt, and Munich, in Germany, and Atlanta, Seattle, and St. Louis, in the United States.  

Barriers to meet the housing needs of all residents remain or have been heightened as a priority issue for decades for nearly every city in the US and in Europe. Affordable housing is critical to ensuring cities and neighborhoods can be inclusive, places where people of different backgrounds live together, and have equal opportunities for employment, mobility, education, and leisure. Addressing this challenge is critical to strengthen our democracies.

“The US-German network of cities is a strategic pillar of our international urban development policy here in Germany. Together with my US colleagues from HUD, we are eager to learn from the cities’ experiences on how to address affordable housing in a place-based and co-productive manner,” said Prof. Dr. Oliver Weigel, Head of Division Urban Development Policy, Federal Ministry of Housing, Urban Development and Building.

 Moreover, the importance and role of cities learning and acting internationally, as will be done as part of the Breaking Barriers project, has just been emphasized by the communiqué issued from the first Ministerial Meeting on Sustainable Development of the G7, under its German presidency, and this includes a special emphasis on “strengthening resilient communities for social equity, which calls on decision-makers at all levels to leave no one behind, to reflect the diversity of urban societies, and to counteract all kinds of segregation by giving attention to the needs of all social and age groups including the most vulnerable and disadvantaged.”

“The German Marshall Fund is thrilled to continue building on over ten years of partnership with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, GIZ, and the German government to explore how our cities and federal governments can strengthen democracy and share ways to be more inclusive and equitable,” said GMF President Heather A. Conley.

This project’s research carried out in the US and Germany, together with the input and experience of city practitioners and federal officials from both countries, will allow for the development and dissemination of valuable practical insights and policy recommendations applicable in cities transatlantically.

Contact: Angelina Sutalo, Senior Press Officer; Irvin McCullough, Press Officer
Email: [email protected]; [email protected]
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The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) is a non-partisan policy organization committed to the idea that the United States and Europe are stronger together. GMF champions the principles of democracy, human rights, and international cooperation, which have served as the bedrock of peace and prosperity since the end of World War II, but are under increasing strain. GMF works on issues critical to transatlantic interests in the 21st century, including the future of democracy, security and geopolitics, alliances and the rise of China, and technology and innovation. By drawing on and fostering a community of people with diverse life experiences and political perspectives, GMF pursues its mission by driving the policy debate through cutting-edge analysis and convening, fortifying civil society, and cultivating the next generation of leaders on both sides of the Atlantic.