Paving and construction

street with concrete and asphaltClick to enlarge
More and more green softens asphalt and concrete
Source: ThomBal /

There’s no way around it: all construction has a direct impact on the soil. Depending on the extent of the changes brought about by construction, it can completely or partly destroy vital soil functions. For example, paving over open space destroys natural habitats. Land use resulting in drastic changes in both greenfield land and farmland can be curbed, however.

Paving over large areas, particularly in urban environments, creates an urban climate whose air temperatures are higher than those found in forests and greenfield sites. Such areas also prevent groundwater formation, since precipitation runoff ends up in sewer systems rather than being absorbed by the soil.

Uncontrolled loss of naturally developed soil results in habitat and landscape fragmentation, and in a permanent loss of spatial corridors, particularly for native fauna. Currently, some 80 hectares per day of open space is used for construction or other purposes. And while this figure is slightly lower than in the past, it is still very far from the government’s goal of reducing land use to 30 hectares per day by 2020.

Graph shows the daily amount of used land:  81 hectare in 2011. A maximum of 30 hectare/day is the setted goal for 2020.
Daily increase in the amount of land used for human settlements and the transport infrastructure

Tägliche Zunahme der Siedlungs- und Verkehrsfläche von 1993 bis 2011

Source: Umweltbundesamt
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 Floor loading  soil sealing  paving  urban sprawl  land use