Katja Dörner (born 1976 in Siegen, Germany) took office as Mayor of Bonn on 1 November 2020. She pursued university studies in political science, linguistics, modern German literature and public law in Bonn, York and Edinburgh and graduated in 2000.
From 2009 to 2020, she was a member of the German Bundestag; as of 2014, she served as Deputy Chair of the Bündnis 90/Die Grünen parliamentary group and as a member of the Committee for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth.
Since March 2021, Mayor Dörner has co-chaired the ICLEI Global Executive Committee 2021-2024 portfolio on Climate Action and Low Emission Development. Since January 2023, Mayor Dörner is also a member of the German Council for Sustainable Development (RNE), an advisory body to the German Federal Government on issues of sustainability policy.
Her priorities for Bonn are making Bonn climate neutral by 2035, advancing sustainable mobility – notably with more bike lanes and a car free inner city, fighting inequalities and promoting affordable housing.
Creating enough affordable housing is one of the greatest challenges facing the City of Bonn. Due to its attractive location and strong economy, the population of the City of Bonn has increased by 17.1% since 1991, from 286,869 inhabitants to 335,975.
For this reason, the city administration set up a project group “Subsidised Housing in Bonn,” which presented its findings in 2021. It set an ambitious goal: a maximum of 30 percent of disposable income should be spent on rent. Only then do people still have sufficient means to live life to the full and participate in society. As a growing, attractive city, we must make it possible for people with lower incomes to live here and participate in our community.
Bonn is one of the cities in Germany where people have the highest average burden of rent. This is offset by public housing subsidies, which provide an incentive for developers to offer high-quality housing at affordable rents. In Bonn, there are currently around 10,000 apartments that are subject to such rent controls and allocated to eligible households. However, the supply of affordable housing is being threatened due to the continuous loss of housing from the system of rent controls. If the current trend continues, there will only be just under 4,300 of such apartments by 2030. This is far too few to meet the rising demand.
In 2020, Bonn became the third German city to join the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities. The network brings together municipalities and education stakeholders from around the world to exchange ideas, focusing on implementing the Global Sustainable Development Goals. The launch event in Bonn took place in 2021 with representatives from politics, business, culture and civil society. Under the motto Building sustainability in Bonn on books, bytes, and people!, education and lifelong learning are to be used as the key to making even greater use of the potential and commitment of people and institutions that already exist in Bonn, and thus to developing solutions for a sustainable city. Learning City Bonn builds on Bonn’s Sustainability Strategy and is intended to promote exchange and networking, including across institutions and sectors, focusing on people who have had little contact with the topic of sustainability. The initial focus is on climate-friendly action, economic sustainability, and cultural and social participation. To this end, pilot projects will be undertaken in some neighborhoods. In addition, an annual Sustainability Learning Festival and a Sustainability Citizen Certificate are to be developed and established.
The participation portal Bonn Joins In (German: Bonn macht mit) bundles all information on participation offerings of the city. In addition, citizens can participate directly in current urban policy issues. The pages of the web portal thus contain all the information on opportunities to influence municipal decisions and tasks. In addition to specific online participation processes, such as the citizens‘ dialog on the budget or current urban land use planning projects, service-oriented offerings are also made easily accessible. Another core element is the project list, which citizens can use to learn about the city‘s plans and projects at an early stage. Hence, people in Bonn can actively participate in urban projects, even without belonging to a party or a local political body. The dialog platform also provides various modules, such as discussion forums or surveys, so that citizens can exchange and discuss their suggestions and opinions. Bonn Joins In makes it possible to react directly to current topics or put topics on the agenda, promoting a public dialog between Bonn’s citizens and the city administration.