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The Socially Integrative City programme is a recognised example of good practice in community-led neighbourhood regeneration. Institutionalised at a national level, it has been in place since 1999, experimenting with integrated participative development in deprived urban areas. The unique and innovative nature of the Quartiersmanagement programme lies in that fact that, through a top-down process, the Berlin Senate facilitates a bottom-up participatory process. The experience of the Körnerkiez in Neukölln shows why neighbourhood policies still matter in the discourse about social cohesion in sustainable cities.

Executive summary

The Socially Integrative City is a complex and comprehensive community-led local development scheme that combines a tight spatial focus, local participation, and the integration of policies and human and financial resources. This federal programme, partially financed with ERDF and national funds, decentralises decision-making, by delegating responsibility for small-scale projects to residents living in deprived areas selected by the Berlin Senate. Berlin has refined and extended the original programme’s ideas. A distinctive para-institutional structure known as Quartiersmanagement (QM) is created in each selected neighbourhood, and manages five types of Neighbourhood Funds, each covering a different type of project and working with the direct involvement of residents. The Quartiersmanagement teams provide a platform for networking and interaction, enabling groups and actors to debate and identify local needs, values and responses. One of the anticipated effects of the programme is the empowerment of citizens, through collaboration and cooperation on projects.

The Körnerkiez, located at the centre of the Neukölln district, is one of the poorest neighbourhoods in the city, which is where Socially Integrative City efforts in Berlin are now concentrated. However, the district of Neukölln is undergoing rapid change. Once an unattractive place, formerly on the East-West border and at the periphery of public discourse, it has recently become an area of new interest for different social groups. Over the years it has welcomed a mainly Turkish community, but now young people from all over Europe are attracted to Neukölln by its affordable rents, and new bars, art galleries and trendy shops are appearing. However, rents are increasing dramatically, and Neukölln is showing signs of gentrification, which raises debates about the future of the district and its low-income inhabitants.

At the micro level, the Körnerkiez is still very much challenged by lack of services and educational facilities and a fragile local economy. The projects implemented and financed within Socially Integrative City have provided educational facilities, new green spaces, family support and encouragement of the local economy. The results show that this approach, which consists of implementing local projects through the energies and the ideas of the residents, proves to be successful in some ways and lacking in others. Particular questions concern the limits and advantages of area-based approaches in reducing urban deprivation city-wide.

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Technical information


Participative neighbourhood management in Berlin

Member State and Region

Germany - Berlin Land - Berlin Stadt

Duration of project

From 2005 – still ongoing


Total annual budget for the Neighbourhood Funds (Quartiersfonds):15 400 000€

ERDF contribution for integrated urban development priority axis: 182 657 000 € and related national public contribution to priorities 171 697 580 €

Cohesion Policy Objective


Managing Authority

Berlin Senate Administration for Economy, Technology and Women, Referat I E ‘Europäische Strukturfondsförderung’ (managing and implementing authority)

CCI nr of OP

2007DE162PO004 OP ‘Berlin’


Philipp Mühlberg

Gruppenleiter des Referats Soziale Stadt

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Empowerment and participation, Integrated approaches