Project of the Week: A neighbourhood management project in Berlin assigns decision-making power to residents
The Neighbourhood Management Berlin project is a strategy launched by the Berlin city authorities in 1999 with the aim of regenerating socially disadvantaged areas of the city. Working in neighbourhoods facing issues as diverse as neglect of public and green spaces, ethnic integration challenges and high youth unemployment, the project engages neighbourhood actors and includes them in the democratic decision-making process.
Neighbourhood Councils (represented by local institutions and citizens’ associations: schools, churches, local police, housing societies and residents) were set-up to enable residents to shape their own destinies and encourage them to take responsibility for the improvement of living conditions in their own neighbourhoods.
The most popular actions undertaken include support to schools, the refurbishment of public venues to strengthen social cohesion, and the promotion of a shared neighbourhood culture. Activities have now expanded to encompass career support as well as an increased focus on social and ethnic integration – particularly in neighbourhoods with a high proportion of the population from a migrant background (up to 79 % in some cases).
The project, which benefited from an EUR 83.5 million EU investment, has won the RegioStars Award 2013 in the category “CityStar”.
Philipp Mühlberg from the Berlin Senate Department for Urban Development and Environment, states about the project:
‘Neighbourhood Management Berlin is based on local democracy and empowerment and assigns decision-making power to local panels. The establishment of Neighbourhood Councils in deprived districts has strengthened the participation of residents by giving them the responsibility to decide on the development of their neighbourhood. The success of the project shows how it is possible to motivate residents to take their responsibility for their own neighbourhood and their future’.
Project website (in German)