Migration ein Thema der Stadtentwicklungspolitik?

  • Migration - a Matter of Urban Development Politics?

Berding, Ulrich; Selle, Klaus (Thesis advisor)

Aachen : Publikationsserver der RWTH Aachen University (2007)
Dissertation / PhD Thesis

In: PT_Materialien 14
Page(s)/Article-Nr.: VIII, 252 S. Ill., graph. Darst., Kt,

Aachen, Techn. Hochsch., Diss., 2007


This thesis focuses on the question whether and to what extent urban development politics make use of urban development concepts to tackle tasks and challenges posed by immigration and the presence of migrants in cities. As a start, relevant migration-related issues with a connection to urban development are expounded. This is followed by the analysis of six urban development concepts in terms of any migration and integration - related statements they may contain. The thesis consists of three chapters: in the first chapter, "migration" as the given central topic is identified and discussed following an examination of up-to-date specialist literature. There is a strong emphasis on the terminology used in current debates with particular attention given to the term "integration". Another aspect of the first chapter is immigration in Germany: since its foundation, the Federal Republic of Germany has been a destination for immigrants; as a result, there are presently 12 million people from migrant backgrounds living in Germany. Among the main destinations were large West German cities, and within these cities specific districts which have consequently become rife with migration-related issues and problems. As a result, there are complex social, economic and spatial developments and phenomena which all have an impact on urban development politics: Population development, segregation, the housing situation, the educational situation, their economic potential and chances, cultural impact of the presence of migrants. These aspects and the subject of integration and their relevance to urban development are the main topics of the professional debate. "Migration" with its complex spatial and content-related implications thus offers a cross- section view of urban development. The second chapter addresses the subject of "urban development". A brief retrospective highlights the general framework and paradigms of urban development since the 1960s and, above all, the use and implementation of urban development concepts. The realisation here is that urban development concepts do provide ideas and possibilities on how to handle migration-related issues and integrate these into urban development politics. Basic consideration of urban migration topics on one hand and urban development politics on the other hand have been the basis for developing a "migration evaluation" of selected current urban development concepts. Using a uniform investigation raster, it is explored how and to what extent these urban development concepts contain statements on the migration-related topics mentioned above. The concluding examination in the third chapter returns to the initial questions: Is migration an integral part of current urban development? If so, how and to what extent? This will then lead to questions of whether the full potential of migration-related possibilities is being tapped and the restrictions and boundaries that apply. The overall conclusion is that urban development politics has so far failed to fully realise the importance of "migration" as an issue. Urban development concepts have been used with reserve to implement this issue in urban development politics in an explicit, constructive and stringent manner. There can be no doubt that this is a difficult task. The appropriate consideration of issues of migration and integration in urban development concepts is met with various challenges: the complexity of this task cannot be ignored. However, this should by no means affect the comprehensibility of the problem; the significance of migration issues within urban development concepts and the real life impact of these issues on urban development should correspond; urban development concepts should be closely linked with other (professional) conceptions in the context of migration and integration. Migrants should be involved in the process of creating urban development concepts in order to tap their resources, knowledge and potential for urban development. Finally, the thesis identifies existing gaps and areas in need of further research: urban development concepts give but little indication of actual activity in the respective migration-related communal arenas; also, urban development concepts are the result and expression of ongoing local politics debates, yet a discrepancy remains between the political aims and stances identified in urban development concepts and those discussed outside the realm of urban development concepts. This discrepancy requires further analysis. A third gap has been identified between local politics objectives and actual local activity beyond political agendas. The thesis closes on the note that not only is there a need for migration to be recognised as an urban development-relevant matter but that there is ample reasoning for the integration of migration as a task in urban development politics.