The Federal Office for Building and Regional Planning

Research Project: Expert opinion on the preparation of an inter-agency strategy for the "Social City"

Project briefing

The coalition agreement 2013 between CDU/CSU and SPD stipulates to continue the programme "Social City" as the master programme of social integration within the framework of the promotion of urban development. It is to constitute the foundation for an inter-agency strategy "Social City", on the basis of which development funds from programmes of different departments in areas with increased needs for integration are being pooled additively. For the implementation of this mandate and in preparation of such a strategy the research assignment "Expert opinion on the prep-aration of an inter-agency strategy" compiled social trends with their effects on disadvantaged districts, analysed the workings of existing inter-agency activities, iden-tified potential additional fields of action and specified potential forms of cooperation.

Project duration: November 2014 – May 2016


Even 15 years after the establishment of the Social City programme, the current challenges for cities and municipalities for a socially fair urban neighbourhood development – not least in view of the current topic of immigration – remain very high. Developments in relation to the demographic trend, the job market, the topic of education and so on continue to lead to social polarisations, which become particularly manifest in the disadvantaged districts. Against this background, the social district development has to be a social joint task that is reflected in the urban development policy of the municipalities, but also needs to be supported at the federal and state level. It is precisely in these disadvantaged urban districts where problem areas (constructional, economic, social) overlap, that a close cooperation of all partners and a co-ordinated and comprehensive course of action in the subject areas of education, immigration and integration, work and employment, the economy, medical and health care, the environment, mobility, civic engagement, culture and sports is very important. The interaction of the individual branches and measures needs to be locally coordinated during the implementation of programmes. All governmental levels and departments should participate in order to facilitate this integrated approach at the district level.
This requires a shared basic understanding and a shared acceptance of an enhanced aid programme for urban development developed into a "Social City" master programme as well as a corresponding inter-agency readiness to co-operate on all levels of public services. The objective of the Social City to act as an indicator is closely linked with the inter-agency readiness to facilitate socio-spatially appropriate and department-specific funding and support applicable existing needs in addition to the programme funding of the Social City. This requires a higher-level inter-agency strategy for the "Social City", which serves as the basis for the cooperation of the federal departments and is being jointly supported. At the same time this strategy is to form the basis for the involvement of additional participants.


The research assignment was to formulate the foundation for the development of an inter-agency strategy for the "Social City", that constitutes the basis for the co-operation with additional federal departments and other participants which are active in the district or are planning to be involved. The strategy is to promote a collective approach, especially in view of the task for society as a whole of strengthening the social cohesion in Germany. For this, additional administrative departments as well as businesses, organisations, foundations, civil society and Churches will have to become involved as target groups.
In consideration of previous experiences with socio-spatial approaches of different departmental policies and departments at federal, state and municipal level and with the inclusion of expertise from different disciplines, a joint objective was defined and potential structures for the realisation of an inter-agency strategy were demonstrated.

The contractor of the research project was: empirica ag, Berlin.


  • Dr. Karin Veith
    Division RS 4 "Urban Development Grants, Social Urban Development"
    Phone: +49 228 99401-2140

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