The shock is one thing.
Corona has hit all German cities and districts hard economically, literally no place in Germany has been spared the consequences of the recession and lockdowns.
The question is how long it will take the municipalities to recover from the blow before the city center with its trade, gastronomy and cultural life becomes attractive again.
It is already becoming apparent that the quality of life in some places will suffer for years to come, while urban life in other places could normalize relatively quickly.
The consulting company FTI-Andersch has made a forecast based on various indicators.
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“Everything on shares” is the daily stock market shot from the WELT business editorial team.
Every morning from 7 a.m. with the financial journalists Moritz Seyffarth and Holger Zschäpitz.
For stock market experts and beginners.
Subscribe to the podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcast, Amazon Music and Deezer.
Or directly via RSS feed.
"Despite the renewed lockdown, some cities have a good chance of a faster recovery after the end of the pandemic," says Dorothée Fritsch, expert for market and competition analyzes at FTI-Andersch.
At the top of their list of locations with good potential for recreation is, in their opinion, the old federal capital, Bonn.
In addition to Bonn, Darmstadt, Ingolstadt and Ulm also have good prospects of finding their way back to old urban life.
The experts see Germany's oldest city Trier as far less resilient.
The metropolis of Berlin is also not doing well.
Of the 52 major cities examined, today's federal capital only ranks eighth from the bottom.
Source: WORLD infographic
Together with her colleagues, the strategist examined how long the Covid 19 shock will reverberate economically and socially and affect quality of life.
To do this, the experts from the consulting company compared the municipalities on the basis of 19 individual factors.
Each of the 19 factors was rated from 1 (low) to 5 (high) and combined into the two categories of stability against external influences and socio-economic environment.
With regard to the stability of urban life, for example, Berlin achieved the worst value in Germany, 1.9.
The East Westphalian Paderborn achieved the highest stability grade with 3.5.
There, unemployment has hardly increased due to Corona.
Source: WORLD infographic
The idea behind it: If a city is heavily dependent on tourism and trade fair business, for example, travel and contact restrictions affect the local economy harder than if health facilities, utilities or logisticians are the main employers.
Locations with a strong export business were among the worst in the first economic downturn in spring 2020, but had good prospects of a rapid countermovement in the third and fourth quarters of the year - especially when the local companies export to Asia and the USA.
From this point of view, the quality of life in no German city is likely to recover as quickly as in Bonn.
The experts certify that the former federal capital has a “high stability against external influences” combined with a strong socio-economic environment.
"Bonn is the location of numerous corporations and medium-sized companies," says Fritsch.
Bonn has two strong DAX companies
For example, Deutsche Post is based there, making it the only company in the leading Dax index that analysts believe will generate higher profits for 2021 than a year ago.
As a logistician, Swiss Post is benefiting from the trend towards online trading, which has accelerated due to the virus crisis.
Bonn is also the seat of a second Dax group, Deutsche Telekom, which also got through the crisis well, as well as numerous authorities and international organizations.
This attractiveness has been accompanied by a strong increase in the number of residents in recent years.
“In Bonn purchasing power is high, the unemployment rate is low and the quality of life is very good,” the report says.
At the same time, the former federal capital is not as dependent on trade fairs or tourism as other large cities, which significantly increased its resilience in the corona pandemic.
Although the number of people without a job also rose in Bonn in 2020, the unemployment rate worsened from 6.5 to 7.7 percent between January and December.
At the same time, the regional economic structure suggests a relatively quick recovery.
Source: WORLD infographic
A return to economic dynamism will not be so easy for Germany's largest city, Berlin.
Unemployment there has climbed to over ten percent and will remain at a high level in early 2021.
As a start-up metropolis, the capital is also home to numerous business models that are little affected by the lockdown, for example because employees can work from their computers at home or even benefit from it.
According to the EY Startup Barometer 2020, Berlin start-ups recorded 42 percent of all financing rounds with 314 financing rounds.
However, the crisis also made itself felt here: the investment volume fell by 17 percent to 3.1 billion euros.
At the same time, contact and travel restrictions have paralyzed a considerable part of Berlin's cultural life.
Even if the public service is not affected: The majority of the service sectors that dominate Berlin's economy are facing an unclear future.
In total, almost 90 percent of all workers in Berlin work in the service sector.
Immigration to Berlin has come to a standstill
In addition, there is something else: In 2020, the influx of people, which has contributed to the growth of the capital's economy in recent years, at least temporarily came to a standstill.
The situation is different in large parts of eastern Germany.
Many regions there had suffered from population decline for a long time.
In the past few years, however, not so many people have moved, and some communities in the east even recorded growth in 2020.
So it is not surprising that the countries in East Germany got through the Corona year quite well economically.
The economy there is likely to have only contracted 2.8 percent in the past twelve months.
Across Germany, the minus was five percent.
“This has to do with the fact that the public service is more important in the east and that there are slightly fewer manufacturing industries in the east than in the west,” explains Oliver Holtmöller, head of the Macroeconomics Department and Vice President of the Leibniz Institute for Economic Research Halle (IWH ).
The pension adjustment also plays a role, after all, the average age in the eastern German federal states is higher than in the western German states.
In July 2020, the pension in western Germany was increased by 3.45 percent and in eastern Germany by 4.20 percent.
However, not all cities in the east are crisis-resistant.
According to FTI-Andersch, Erfurt and Leipzig, for example, must expect the pandemic to cause long-term damage to their urban life.
Recovery could also be a long time coming in Celle, Hildesheim, Lübeck and Mannheim.
In addition, Trier comes in last nationwide.
The former metropolis of the Roman province of Gallia Belgica lives not least from tourists and shopping commuters.
“Of course, model calculations cannot anticipate all the imponderables over the next few months.
It is foreseeable, however, that cities in particular, which are heavily dependent on external impulses and at the same time offer a rather weak economic environment, will have to cope with significantly greater challenges in the coming months, ”says Dorothée Fritsch.
If there are no visitors, for example, local traders, restaurateurs, leisure and cultural activities no longer have any sources of income.
If the expected bankruptcies occur in 2021, the socio-economic environment and local supply will continue to deteriorate.
A downward spiral threatens.
Mayors can counteract the downward spiral
The consultants from FTI-Anders advise the mayors of the cities to take action in good time and to take countermeasures so that the city centers do not become deserted.
"Even during the Corona period, especially after a possible end of the lockdown, it should be simplified, for example, to relocate sales areas outside and to make opening times in retail significantly more flexible," recommends Mike Zöller, retail expert and partner at FTI-Andersch.
The management consultants suggest a temporary relaxation of the procurement law for a faster implementation of public investment promotion measures, as well as the promotion of a digital infrastructure for small and medium-sized companies.
Many municipalities could also improve the experience of visiting the city center by creating seating, public sockets and WiFi, more toilets, pop-up cycle paths and further improvements in the quality of stay.
For vacant properties, sub-leases are available as so-called mini-logistics hubs in city centers.
"Despite the difficult situation, we recommend thinking about urban development in the long term," says Zöller.
Otherwise it would be difficult for the cities in the bottom group to get started again after the crisis.