Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Berlin Institute for Empirical Integration and Migration Research (BIM)

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | BIM | Projects | StadtUmMig II – Subproject „Local Social Boundary Processes and Barriers to Resource Access“

StadtUmMig II – Subproject "Local Social Boundary Processes and Barriers to Resource Access"



In the last decade and a half, urban redevelopment, in the sense of adapting the housing and infrastructure stock to declining population figures, has been driven forward in almost all eastern German municipalities. As a result, "temporary neighborhoods" have emerged on the edges of many eastern German cities, where housing stock and infrastructure have been reduced, yet further development prospects are unclear. In view of the immigration of refugees, new development perspectives are emerging for these residential areas. The urban redevelopment neighborhoods in particular have recently experienced significant influxes of recognized asylum seekers or people with subsidiary protection. As a result, both the population as a whole and the proportion of migrants in the residential areas concerned are growing in a comparatively short time. The perspective developed in the context of urban redevelopment processes, which was based on a "dissolution" of these neighborhoods, is thus becoming obsolete. At the same time, new requirements arise for infrastructure and open space planning, as well as for the participation, integration and involvement of the new residents.

Since 2019 (2019–2022) we are investigating in the BMBF-funded project StadtumMig "From urban redevelopment focus to immigration quarter? New Perspectives for Peripheral Large Housing Estates" using the example of three large housing estates in Schwerin, Halle (Saale) and Cottbus in the project network, we are investigating potentials and challenges of former "urban redevelopment quarters" in transition to immigration quarters.

After the identification of central potentials and challenges for the sustainable and socially just development of the neighborhoods in the first project phase (2019-2022), findings will be deepened and strategies for action will be developed in a second project phase (2022-2024) in an exchange between scientists and local network partners (see for a description of the overall project


Research Questions

The subproject „Local social boundary processes and barriers to resource access”, which is based at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, focuses on social boundaries and barriers to access that refugees encounter in local infrastructures such as social services, drop-in and counseling centers, associations, initiatives, and educational institutions, and which thus influence the participation and integration of refugees at the local level. The subproject aims to (further) reduce these barriers and to (further) open locally anchored institutions for the use of refugees. Boundaries will be addressed from different perspectives (staff, users) and on different levels (interaction, organization, financing).

For this purpose, we conduct interviews with employees and clients of the facilities as well as participatory observations in selected local services. On this basis and in participatory formats on site, we will then identify success factors and obstacles for the dismantling of social boundaries.


Research Team

Project Management:

Nihad El-Kayed

Scientific Assistance:

Leoni Keskinkilic

Student Assistance:
Helin Demirkol, Marie Schmidt


Network Partner

The project is a collaborative effort led by the Leibniz Institute for Spatial Social Research (IRS), between the Leibniz Institute for Ecological Spatial Development (IÖR), the Brandenburg Consultancy for Urban Renewal and Modernization (B.B.S.M.), and the state capital Schwerin and the BIM.


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