Community Engagement for Social Inclusion

Berlin

Mehringplatz

Mehringplatz Anknipsen is a digital atlas dedicated to the Südliche Friedrichstadt and the surrounding territories of Kreuzberg and Mitte. Its contents are produced through workshops developed with citizens and local organisations in different community hubs of the neighbourhood. It has a focus on mapping and narrating initiatives aimed at social engagement and inclusion of disadvantaged subjects.

The Südliche Friedrichstadt is an atypical "disadvantaged Neighbourhood", though emblematic of Berlin's peculiar urban character and history. It developed around the monumental baroque Belle Alliance Platz. Completely destroyed during WWII, it found itself as a peripheral territory at the edge of the Berlin Wall until rebuilt in the Seventies as a huge social-housing settlement. After the fall of the wall the neighbourhood is subject to an important re-centralisation process starting from the reunification of Germany and the progressive reconnection and healing of the divided city. During the last years an important set of social and regeneration interventions has been delivered injecting new residents and productive activities. In 2005 the area around Mehringplatz was targeted by the national Soziale Stadt program, identifying this territory as a deprived neighbourhood in need for specific social support measures. A local Quartiersmanagement office has been settled to support an area of about 25 hectares with a population of about 5.500. Today the integration of new and old lifestyles, different cultural backgrounds, economies and social issues is a key question in the Südliche Friedrichstadt. Higher than the average level of unemployment, concentration of marginal population, drug dealing and presence of youth gangs are still perceived issues. At the same time there is a new social polarisation in sight, with a consistent number of new middle class residents and creative players moving into the area, with the connected risks of gentrification, raising prices, displacement and social conflicts.