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The Quartiersmanagement as a Local Strategy for Integration

Looking out the window at the Neumarksschule across the street, Helge Löw nostalgically tells us about the weekly meetings in the courtyard that she organized with her neighbors. The purpose was to bring people together, to connect around an identity as neighbors, rather than according to nationality or ethnicity. The program was eventually halted by a few residents who “did not feel at home” with “such people” meeting in their courtyards.

While Ms. Löw’s weekly meetings were organized informally, Berlin has implemented the Quartiersmanagement system, a new system for districts identified as socio-economic hotspots, which is encouraging such local initiatives designed to bring neighbors together.

Berlin, with almost one-fourth of its population having an immigrant background, represents one of the most diverse cities in Germany. Following examples in other European cities such as Rotterdam and London, Berlin has taken over the Quartiersmanagement (QM) system and is this year celebrating 10 years of existence of this innovative approach to integration in urban settings. 

To what extent are the Berliner Quartiersmanagements successful in terms of integration? In order to tackle this question, the following aspects need to be explored. How is the term “integration” defined? What is the political approach to “integration” that has been translated into the Quartiersmanagement system in Berlin? What are the procedural and financial aspects of Quartiersmanagement, as part of the broader program in the “Socially Integrative City” of Berlin? 

We conducted different interviews covering all levels and actors involved in the Quartiersmanagement: the Senate’s Department for Urban Planning, the District Offices (Bezirksamt), the Quartiersmanagement teams, neighborhood council members, and neighborhood associations working with the QM. 


a. Various Definitions

As integration has become an increasingly debated issue in Berlin, the goals and implementation of integration policies have been contested by various actors. Despite these debates, there remains a large degree of consensus regarding the most important goals of integration, and what role the city should play in promoting it.

The use of the term ‘integration’ has been criticized by social scientists, who argue that Berlin’s use of the term focuses on the deficits of people arriving from other countries, rather than emphasizing diversity as a resource or attempting to harness its potential. Nivedita Prasad, a project and research coordinator at the Ban Ying Coordination Center, argued that the most classical indicator of integration, language competency, is not an accurate reflection of integration. In her opinion, many people, such as diplomats, IT specialists, and managers, who are not ethnically German and who often don’t speak German fluently, do not tend to be the targets of integration problems. Moreover, people with a Western background are more often considered to be integrated than people of a non-Western immigrant background.  Ms. Prasad cited the Mehmet case as an example of Germany’s structural failure to integrate the latter group. Mehmet, a 16-year-old of Turkish heritage who was born and raised in Germany and committed a string of crimes, was eventually deported to Turkey. “This demonstrates an important point: if a German youngster kills, he will be punished. If a migrant does it, he will be deported and punished. Every society has people who kill, rape, and commit other crimes. We don’t choose in a migrant society who we want, taking the good ones and chucking the bad ones out.” 

For Ms. Prasad, the term “integration” should be replaced with the concept of “social inclusion,” whereby programs’ emphasis should be on empowering immigrants rather than having them conform to German values, such as learning German. Drawing upon the strengths of these people encourages them to find work and become included in this aspect of society.

Dr. Ulrich Raiser regarded integration as a combination of strengthening social cohesion with an emphasis on equal opportunities, and fostering diversity, viewing this as a resource rather than a deficit. In his opinion, although the term “integration” often evokes a negative connotation, both integration and social cohesion point to the same outcome: the ability of a society to bring together its different components so that they can get along and function. The process of integration should be twofold. Raiser explained: “On the one hand it should concentrate on making immigrants feel comfortable and providing them with services to help them incorporate into society. On the other hand, immigrants need to see the potential that the receiving society has to offer. In both integration and social inclusion, there needs to be a process with two sides. Our institutions have changed and still need to change with integration. On the other side, immigrants need to change their ways of life to adapt to a new society and a new way of life. Currently the demand is for immigrants to change, but it really needs to be two-sided.”
The belief that immigrants must make the effort to integrate into a German host society has had the unintentional consequence of creating discriminatory distinctions between the immigrant groups themselves. Düttmann-Siedlung manager Ms. Angelika Greis pointed to a ladder theory of integration, in which the top-rung, “ideal” society is German, followed by migrants of Turkish, Arabic, ex-Yugoslavian, and Roma-Sinti background, respectively. 

Philipp Mühlberg, Head of the Socially Integrative City division of Berlin’s Senate Department for Urban Planning, argued that the idea of a dichotomy between a “German mainstream society” and an immigrant society is misguided. “There is no such thing as a mainstream society: there are people from different backgrounds and walks of life even before immigration is taken into account. If you look at any urban setting in a historical context, people from different cultures needed to live together and get along.” The claim that integration in Germany has failed is therefore unfounded; not only because it is based on a dichotomy that does not exist in reality—but also because discourse on integration did not take place until recently, when Germany finally accepted its role as a destination country for immigrants. This initial lack of acceptance had aggravated tensions and problems, blurring the line between cause and effect—especially concerning the history of people with Turkish backgrounds. “When they first moved to Germany for working purposes, they were expected to move back to Turkey afterwards, so no emphasis was placed on education or training. Now, as a result of these policies, many people are unable to get a job, so the cycle repeats itself.”

For many city officials involved in the implementation of the social city program, the concept behind integration is equality of opportunity. Reimar Seid, the co-manager of the Quartiersmanagement Körnerpark in Neukölln, regarded integration as “the chance for this section of the population to have the same opportunities as if they were of German heritage, and cultural tolerance and respect for one’s neighbors, regardless of if they are of German, Turkish, or Arab background.”

The co-manager of Schöneberg Nord, Remzi Uyguner, believed that nobody’s ethnic background should be able to be used as a justification for their having a lower position in society, and regardless of background, residents should have an equal chance to participate in the economic, educational, and political life of society. In concrete, everyday terms, he argued, integration is “when a person of Turkish background is no longer defined as a Turk and instead as a person—the same with a person with German background—who lives in this Kiez [neighborhood].”

One of the main points of contention in the integration debate is what its goal should be, or whether such a goal is even feasible. For Mr. Mühlberg, the final goal of integration, if one exists, is a culture in which a set of values are diffused in such a way that society reflects them in everyday life. For Ms. Reyhan Sahin, the neighborhood coordinator for the Körnerpark QM, these values are comprised within the German democratic system and its constitution. Everyone, regardless of their background, can live as creatively as they wish as long as they respect this common basis. 

A goal consistently cited as important by city officials and QM workers alike is participation. When it comes to integration in Berlin, the most consensus has occurred in connection with the goals of equality of opportunity, and empowering residents of all ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds. It is often the case that these socio-economic problems are aggravated by ethnic differences; as such, they are the most important and accurate indicators of integration. Policies addressing integration must therefore tackle underlying socio-economic factors, not focus exclusively on ethnic and other divisions among immigrants.

Concerns Reflected on the Policy Level

These definitions of integration reflect the new context for discussing the topic in Germany, which finally accepted its status as an immigrant country in the late 1990s, and began to initiate cross-departmental and cross-sectional integration policies which had been lacking up to that point. In Berlin, the Commissioner for Integration and Migration of Berlin has elaborated on this new integration policy in his report, “Encouraging Diversity – Strengthening Cohesion,” for the Senate in 2005. This represented a major policy shift, in which an increased focus is placed on diversity as a resource rather than on the deficits of integration, and on a customer-oriented approach to the city’s public services. 

When asked whether this change of perspective will last, or rather represents a passing political trend, Dr. Raiser affirmed that “it can’t be reversed anymore, and it represents an ongoing feature that is now trickling into the self-understanding of institutions.”

Currently, discussions about integration in Berlin revolve around monitoring and strategic governance of the process. As the first federal state in Germany and the first European city of this size, Berlin has recently introduced a monitoring system with measurable indicators covering different aspects of integration: labor and employment; education; urban cohesion; intercultural opening; participation and strengthening of the civil society; refugees; culture; judicial integration; health; and social situation. The preliminary results are now available through evaluation reports, which were extensively discussed in the media. According to Dr. Raiser, the introduction of such indicators is “a success by having brought the discussion down to a pretty sober analysis of facts.”

The monitoring of integration at the city level has then been significantly enhanced by an expanded system for data collection on the national level. In 2006, the Federal Statistical Office published the first micro-census, which included not only a category for nationality (German or non-German) but also one for people of “migration background.” This latter category is still controversial in Germany. Currently, it is defined by the Berlin Senate as “a person (1) without German nationality; (2) who emigrated to Germany after 1950 as a repatriate; (3) who has been naturalized; (4) whose two parents are foreigners / have been naturalized or who has at least one parent who has immigrated to Germany.”  Starting January 1, 2009, all public administrations in the federal state of Berlin were required to incorporate this category into their surveys.

This use of these new indicators has led to considerable funding extensions and additional monitoring of existing integration programs in Berlin such as the program “Soziale Stadt” (the “Socially Integrative City” program).

b. The City’s role in integration

In the face of Berlin’s trend toward growing polarization and socio-ethnic segregation between underprivileged areas and richer neighborhoods, in 1999, the Berlin Senate launched the “Socially Integrative City” program. The program focuses on the stabilization, development and renovation of these marginalized neighborhoods, defined as “areas with special development needs.” With the aid of urban development and housing policy instruments, it attempts to address the multifaceted set of problems arising from above-average levels of unemployment, welfare dependency, and immigrant population. 

The Quartiersmanagements, a self-run support program already piloted in other European cities such as Rotterdam, represents one of the initiatives of the “Soziale Stadt” program. Its aim is both to rehabilitate marginalized neighborhoods, and to create social cohesion by activating inhabitants’ own commitment and involvement.

Between March 1999 and October 2001, the government of Berlin declared a total of 17 districts where Quartiersmanagements would be established. In 2005, 16 areas were added, while three neighborhoods (Helmholtzplatz and Falkplatz in Prenzlauer Berg, Oberschöneweide in Köpenick) were handed over to the local governments. At the same time, this approach was diversified to respond more effectively to different problems and situations. Today, there are 43 officially defined areas for Quartiersmanagement in Berlin, containing a total of 360,000 inhabitants.

Four categories of integration were elaborated within the larger concept of Quartiersmanagement. These levels are distinguished by the severity of problems within each district, as measured by the integration indicators. The four levels include strong intervention (Category One), medium intervention (Category Two), prevention (Category Three), and stabilization (Category Four), moving from the most severe situations to least severe. The designation of categories determine show much funding and how many workers from the Quartiersmanagement office are allotted to each district.

How a QM works in practice 

For each neighborhood, the Senate Department for Urban Planning and that respective borough agrees to implement a Quartiersmanagement. This includes a district representative and Senate representative, who set priorities regarding the use of available funds for the QM area, and reach a consensus on important decisions and goals. In addition, there is the engagement of an external team. 

The newly contracted QM team analyses the specific needs of the neighborhood before creating a “Handlungskonzept” (strategy program), which identifies a number of main areas of focus and concrete measures. These, in turn, are closely discussed with the inhabitants of the area and the neighborhood council, and updated on a yearly basis. Every QM team has a local office within the district.

Everyone may propose a project to the QM team: neighborhood residents, local associations, or members of the neighborhood council. The QM team offers support and expertise in writing the project proposals, which are then discussed during the monthly neighborhood council meetings which the team also attends. Once the proposal has been passed by the council, funding must be approved by the Senate Department for Urban Planning and the District Office.

Given all of the different actors involved in neighborhood development, a strong network with constant coordination is necessary. Every month, the Senate Department for Urban Planning, the District Office, the QM team and the Quartiersbeirat meet in a “Steuerungsrunde” (Steering Committee). Representatives of other departments, labor providers, labor offices and observers are present. Apart from this monthly meeting, the District Office serves as a link between the governmental level and the level of implementation branch. Certain District Office employees are responsible for the District QMs, and are in contact with the QM offices on a daily basis.

Two or three times a year, a group of state secretaries is convened. All departments involved in "The Socially Integrative City“ are represented, including the Senate Departments for Urban Planning; Education, Youth, and Sports; Health, Social Affairs, and Consumer Protection; for Economy, Labor, and Women. Questions and issues concerning "The Socially Integrative City“ and local QM offices are discussed in the context of their collective impact and implications for the city as a whole. Finally, a monthly meeting is set in which all Berliner QM teams are invited to exchange their experiences and most effective practices. This meeting takes place at the Senate Department for Urban Planning.

A networking approach such as the one detailed above is labor-intensive and time-consuming, but necessary if the program is to be successful. 

The Quartiersräte

Since 2006, neighborhood councils (“Quartiersrat”) have been formed by local residents to represent the district. They make up the majority of the members within the council (51 %), but there are also representatives from local schools, religious communities, and housing agencies. The council’s members (15 to 30 people) assess project ideas and decide what funding should be allotted to various projects in conjunction with the Quartiersmanagement team, the District Office and the Senate Department for Urban Planning. They also propose projects and influence the direction of the Quartiersmanagement’s work.

The neighborhood councils were the result of an initial experiment in local governance conducted in 2001-2002. Inhabitants of every Berliner neighborhood received approximately 500.000 Euros (one million DM) to spend on projects discussed within a “Quartiersfondsjury,” a neighborhood funding jury. 


All Quartiersmanagements have received funding through the “Socially Integrative City" program since 1999. Up to 2008, the national government supported this program with a total of 30.5 million Euros. From 2000 to 2008, 58 million Euros were provided by the European Union Fund for Regional Development (EFRD), enabling the support of more than 2000 projects. In order to benefit from the EU and national government programs, the federal state of Berlin must co-finance them. From 1999 to 2008, its own contribution amounted to approximately 73.5 million Euros. Despite Berlin’s difficult financial situation, the Quartiersmanagement’s work continues to be guaranteed through this funding from the European Union and federal government, which together contributed approximately 15 million Euros for 2009.

For the execution of smaller projects, including street festivals and neighborhood newspapers, each team has an action fund of about 15,000 Euros available. According to the Senate Department for Urban Planning, these funds and the resulting projects have been “an encouragement for many residents to become themselves active in and responsible for their neighborhood”.


a) Strengths 

The Quartiersmanagement’s most significant achievement is its ability to bring people in a neighborhood together. The delineation of the Quartiersmanagements’ areas of jurisdiction was intentionally determined according to “local spaces,” rather than traffic maps. As such, these newly designated neighborhoods are more meaningful to residents who encounter each other in public spaces such as parks, shopping areas, and through social institutions such as schools. This represents a departure from the classical urban planning approaches of the 1980s, and creates a situation more conducive to residents’ identification with the neighborhood. 

Bringing neighbors together

The Quartiersmanagement offices work towards providing forums for inhabitants to meet each other. Such opportunities to socialize outside of the workplace are particularly important in a country like Germany, in which mechanisms of socialization and participation revolve around the workplace and the value of working. In all Quartiersmanagements visited, we found creative projects aimed at bringing people together through endeavours such as shared meals (“Hausfrühstück”, “Kaffeeklatsch”). According to Mr. Mühlberg, 50% of the Quartiersmanagement’s success can be attributed to the use of this communicative approach as a first step towards empowerment. Such communication takes place not only between neighbors, but between inhabitants and the administration, to maximize the inclusion of residents of “neighborhoods with special development needs” within the various institutions. For this purpose, the Quartiersmanagement Düttmann-Siedlung has created “Kiezlotse,” a program named after a certain Kreuzberg district, in which inhabitants provide language support to their neighbors filling out administrative forms, direct them towards the relevant state departments, and even accompany them to these offices. According to Ms. Greis, the “Kiezlotse” project is one of their most successful, as it truly reaches out to people and provides them with a concrete service.

As a “Quatschbude” (“talking house”), the Quartiersmanagement enables residents to discuss and debate issues in order to reduce neighbourhood tensions stemming from factors including religion, and high numbers of children per family. The Schöneberger Norden-QM has implemented the project “Dialogue Between Religious Communities,” providing a safe space in which people of different religious backgrounds can discuss their differences. “If we don’t have escalations in social hotspots such as in the banlieues in France, it is not only because these areas have not traditionally been pushed towards the outskirts of the city and remain within the center of Berlin, but also because the Quartiersmanagements represent peace-enhancing strategies,” says Mr. Mühlberg. 

Equality of opportunity starting with education

Another way in which the Quartiersmanagement plays a decisive role in the integration process within Berlin is to place a strong emphasis on education. For equal opportunities to be provided in an effective way, they must start very early, “especially since today, 40% of the children and youth in Berlin under the age of 18 have an immigrant background.” However, Dr. Raiser pointed out that “the German school system has not yet understood the need for equal opportunities and the heterogeneity in Germany.” To achieve this goal, many projects offer German lessons or literacy classes for residents with immigrant backgrounds. However, the focus is not only on learning German: the Quartiersmanagement Schöneberger Norden implemented a program in which children are taught formal written and spoken Arabic. Ms. Löw, a member of its Neighborhood Council, argues “German is already taught at school and is spoken in the environment in which the children grow up here. Integration functions better when you master your own language, and learn to value it. It enhances self-confidence, and it is about developing your own resources. Arabic is a very valuable resource on the job market in Berlin: there is a German-Arabic Chamber of Commerce in Berlin, as well as many embassies from Arab countries.” The Quartiersmanagement’s approach thus mirrors the Berlin Senate’s approach to diversity: explore the potentials and existing resources of each person (which do not necessarily need to be academic), rather than the deficits. 


The Quartiersmanagements also represent an ability on the part of residents to participate in a more direct democratic process, can elect and be elected to the neighborhood council. This represents a new type of governance, in which local inhabitants are empowered to shape their own neighborhood. “This is concrete democracy: through having a say on the management of the neighborhood, democracy and its understanding takes place,” says Mr. Seid. This system, which is more inclusive than the German voting legislation, promotes political participation: any active inhabitant above the age of 16, regardless of nationality, may vote and/or be elected. This is particularly important in areas in which a low level of participation in social and political life has resulted in voter participation rates that are lower than the Berlin average. The neighborhood council could therefore be said to be developing an “oasis of participation”. Today, 33% of the neighborhood council members in Berlin have an immigration background, but this is not something that people necessarily consciously think about. Ms. Löw could not discern how many members have such a background: “It has become natural that we are a mixed community, it’s not something I think about. I could not tell!”

The Quartiersrat follows the subsidiary principle, acknowledging the role of the inhabitants themselves as the best experts for determining their neighborhood’s needs. This guarantees the existence of meaningful projects within the district that are not only of a social nature, but also improve public life and safety. One example is the QM Körnerpark’s project to illuminate the S-Bahn bridge that runs through the neighborhood. 

Finally, the Quartiersräte elections represent a mechanism for acknowledging and appreciating the voluntary work of committed inhabitants. 

b) Limitations

Although the democratic structure of the Quartiersmanagements may enable integration and participation, the system also has a number of limitations, most stemming from its inability to impact structural economic problems in Germany, and the great amount of inherent bureaucracy.

Challenges in participation

According to Ms. Greis, it is very difficult for people to develop the capacity to think about others when their own wallet is empty. Only when interests of the inhabitants coincide—for instance, projects for children—does council decision-making become easier. She argues that inhabitants of Quartiersmanagement neighborhoods are not necessarily accustomed to keeping strict and regular appointments, and must be repeatedly convinced to participate. “Every morning before the council’s monthly meeting, we call every single council member – they probably come not so much because they feel responsible, but because they don’t want to  disappoint the person who called them.” Moreover, for Ms. Greis, elections for membership in the council do not make sense: “Inhabitants don’t necessarily know those who run for election. And this is not an election of politicians; they don’t have different political manifestos!”

For Ms. Lippert from the Schöneberger Norden QM, the major challenge is that neighborhood councils were clearly conceived for middle-class, educated citizens: “The discussion structure is not known to everyone nor loved by everyone – many of the council’s members become exasperated with the bureaucratic procedures.” 

The councils are a part of the integration process within the German “society of organization,” bringing this process closer to council members. However, Ms. Lippert reminded us that many other Germans also fail at keeping up with the unwieldy bureaucratic state system. The amount of bureaucracy in the QM system is primarily the result of its multiple sources of funding, and especially, the EU requirements for monitoring of tax money expenditures. With these bureaucratic procedures, it is very difficult to bring together inhabitants of different academic and cultural backgrounds to work with each other on a voluntary basis—the result being to deprive the Quartiersmanagement of many resources. 

Although the Quartiersräte have been praised by the Senate as a new form of democracy, they do not retain total power in choosing projects and their funding. The Senate Department for Urban Planning and the District Office can block projects if they are deemed not to promote the specific goals of a district. An otherwise meaningful initiative to establish Arabic courses, that was proposed by the QM team and council of the Düttmann-Siedlung, is an example of one such project that was rejected by the Senate Department for Urban Planning, on the grounds that these courses were not directly relevant to integration. 

The inherent limitations of the democratic process add to these challenges. First, as a democratic mechanism, the councils can only reach out to interested inhabitants. According to Mr. Gillmeister from the QM Schöneberger Norden, these “politically active persons are a scarce resource: we should give up the idea that the majority will participate, no matter what their background.” Indeed, out of the 3,000 inhabitants of the Düttmann-Siedlung, only 70 participated in the last council election. However, Ms. Lippert from the Schöneberger Norden QM argued that the approach should not be quantitative, but content-oriented and qualitative: “It is good that different people with different backgrounds and origins participate.” Another debate that still needs to be explored within the Quartiersräte is how effective they are at delegating power and responsibilities to untrained people who work on a volunteer basis. And, as discussed above, Ms. Lippert has seen some meaningful projects rejected by the council. However, the council usually revisits these rejected projects, rather than abandoning them.

Parallel structures?

In the course of our research, we also met the leader of a Stadtteilladen, a neighborhood association founded through citizen initiative more than 20 years ago.  He provided us with strong criticisms of the Quartiersmanagement system: “The top-down approach of the QM is very problematic. The Senate has built up parallel structures, affirming that there were no existing structures. QMs are blind, they only talk about projects funded by the QM and don’t take into account local actors. The complicated way that QMs are funded prevents them from doing so. This can block local initiatives from developing, creating an atmosphere in which people actually wait for the neighborhood to finally be included into the ‘areas with special development need’ category! On the other hand, the competition with the QM is very tough for existing projects and structures, even though nobody says it, and we’re officially all cooperating meaningfully. Another problem with the QM approach is that projects can only be funded for three years, and that the QM office only has a short-term structure. However, working for ‘integration’ and participation requires a long lasting process of confidence-building.”

Ms. Greis agrees that it is a “myth that the QM can activate the neighborhood and enable it to carry out the projects itself”. She also agreed with the criticism that QM projects are too short-term, especially given that the Senate and government institutions are not open to integrating successful projects: “It is very difficult for us to push for the successful projects we experimented with to be taken over by the various government institutions as a permanently funded measure. What we need is more political work.” An employee from the District office explained, “It is very hard for us to come into other departments of the district office and add more projects to be included within the budget plan. In Neukölln, however, this has worked surprisingly well; at least one successful project in every QM has been taken over by the relevant district department. But this is not a rule, and it can only be done for important projects, especially since state budgets don’t have the resources.” 

Limited impact

Quartiersmanagement as a local strategy for integration is quite limited by its inability to influence the general conditions under which integration takes place. “We cannot influence the economic and political conditions in Berlin. We can’t change the weather!” agreed Ms. Lippert. 

However, Mr. Seid argued that although the general framework cannot be influenced by the QM, they represent a meaningful instrument: “The QM gives a voice to the people, so that they can actually influence politics and make themselves heard.” Ms. Lippert also nuanced her earlier statement: “We cannot change the general economic conditions and the job market for instance, but what we can do is influence and improve conditions within individual districts.”
Role in gentrification processes
Our final concern, in terms of a possible limitation of the QM, is its potential for gentrification. If the aim of QM is to make neighborhoods more attractive and improve the quality of life in these areas, are successful QMs simply displacing the problem towards other areas, and moving it to the fringes? This would represent a serious limitation of the system, since in that case it would only be able to fight against symptoms of poverty and discrimination within the neighborhood, not their root causes. The various QMs would thus serve to drive out of the neighborhoods the very people whom it was designed to help.

Both Mr. Mühlberg and various QM managers responded that they would actually be pleased if the QM were successful enough to create such problems: “The Quartiersmanagement’s successes are unfortunately not so good that our neighborhoods have become yuppie areas!” said Ms. Lippert from the QM Schöneberger Norden. 

However, Ms. Greis argued that the QM clearly contributes to the process of gentrification: housing agencies even use the QM projects to advertise their apartments. According to her, the Reuterkiez QM, a neighborhood on the border of the now hip district of Kreuzberg, is one example. The Berliner Reuterkiez was even recently advertised as a ‘hip destination’ within the Süddeutsche Zeitung (issue 11/2009).

It appears that this issue of gentrification and the QM’s role in the process needs to be further explored and observed, especially since precise data about this phenomenon is absent, and since the QM does not currently have measures for controlling the process of gentrification if it were to be found to actually be contributing to this..

According to Ms. Greis, one major problem for neighborhoods such as Neukölln or Schöneberg, in terms of population fluctuation, is that middle-class people tend to move out of these areas when their children start school—at the very latest. This results in schools having an extremely high proportion of children of immigrant background who are concentrated within a particular school, as is the case at the Neumark-Schule in Schöneberger Norden, where as many as 96% of pupils have an immigrant background.  This does not represent a problem in itself; nevertheless, it tends to exacerbate any competency deficits that they already have. This trend is difficult to counteract, but as Ms. Greis says, “it would be worse without the QM.” 


The Quartiersmanagement approach aims to provide equal opportunities and to enhance participation in local communities. Its most significant achievement has been to bring neighborhoods together and empower residents through participation, which in turn leads to the creation of a concrete and constructive identity. The Quartiersmanagements are quite limited in the scope of their ability to bring fundamental change to marginalized districts. Moreover, the bureaucratic nature of the system not only prevents many people from participating, because they do not understand the process, but it also diverts valuable resources away from their intended recipients. The process of integration still needs to become more institutionalized across all departments of the Berlin government. Moreover, the effect of QMs on the process of gentrification is not entirely clear, and thus there must be further research into the relationship between the two, as well as the effects of this relationship on the processes of segregation and integration.

When analyzing the function of the QMs in the broader context of integration, it is important neither to overestimate nor underestimate their impact. All of the actors involved in their implementation agree that these QMs should be perceived in a realistic manner: despite its far-reaching goals, the Quartiersmanagement represents one small—if important— brick in the mosaic of integration. 



National Integration Plan, Summer 2007.
Commissioner of Integration and Migration for the Senate of Berlin (Ed.), Encouraging Diversity – Strengthening Cohesion: Integration Policy in Berlin 2007-2011, February 2008.
Berlin Senate: Grundsätze einer Sozialen Stadt(teil)entwicklung Berlin  in the Senatsbeschluss (20.05.2008).
Senatsverwaltung für Stadtentwicklung, Quartiersmanagement Berlin –Der erste Quartiersrätekongress 2008 im Abgeordnetenhaus von Berlin, March 2009.
Dr. Walther, Uwe-Jens : Das Programm “Die Soziale Stadt”, Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung, July 2007. 
Wolter, Ilse: Die Quartiersmanagement, Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung, July 2007. 
Internet literature
The Berliner network of Quartiersmanagement, www.quartiersmanagement.de
Senate Department for Urban Planning: www. stadtentwicklung.de 


Dr. Ulrich Raiser, Researcher, Office of the Commissioner of Integration and Migration for the Senate of Berlin.

Karl Lemberg, Consultant for integration monitoring at the Office of the Commissioner of Integration and Migration for the Senate of Berlin.
Philipp Mühlberg, Head of the Socially Integrative City division of Berlin’s Senate Department for Urban Development.
Reyhan Sahin, District Office Neukölln, contact person for the Quartiersmanagement Körnerpark.
Angelika Greis, co-managers of the Quartiersmanagement team Düttmann-Siedlung.
Corinna Lippert, Remzi Uyguner and Helmut Gillmeister, co-managers of the Quartiersmanagement team Schöneberger Norden.
Helge Löw, member of the Quartiersrat Schöneberger Norden.
Reimar Seid and Dr. Astrid Tag, co-managers of the Quartiersmanagement team Körnerpark.
Nivedita Prasad, project and research coordinator at the Ban Ying Coordination Center.
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