Everyday Realities of Migrants


Integrationsprozesse asylberechtigter Flüchtlinge in nordrhein-westfälischen Städten und Gemeinden

Bearbeitung: Carmella Pfaffenbach und Francesca Adam mit Claus-Christian Wiegandt aus Bonn sowie Günther Weiss aus Köln

Die jüngste Flüchtlingszuwanderung nach Europa und Deutschland gilt als zentrale Herausforderung für das gesellschaftliche Zusammenleben in den kommenden Jahren. Dabei wird es künftig vor allem um die Frage gehen, wie bleibeberechtigte Flüchtlinge langfristig integriert werden können.
In diesem Projekt untersuchen wir Möglichkeiten und Grenzen der Integration für die zentralen Dimensionen Sprache, Wohnen, Arbeit und soziale Netzwerke aus den beiden Perspektiven der Flüchtlinge und der aufnehmenden Gesellschaft.
Hierzu nutzen wir einen qualitativen methodischen Zugang aus Intensivinterviews und gemeinsamen Begehungen im lokalen Wohn- und Lebensumfeld. Die Perspektiven zentraler Akteure der aufnehmenden Gesellschaft beleuchten wir mit Experteninterviews. Wir verfolgen die These, dass der Verlauf der Integration durch jeweilige lokale Kontexte beeinflusst wird. Daher führen wir unsere Untersuchung in der Stadt Köln und im Landkreis Heinsberg mit jeweils unterschiedlichen räumlichen Bedingungen durch.
Mit unserem Projekt werden grundlegende Erkenntnisse gewonnen, die eine Anpassung von integrationsfördernden Maßnahmen an die Voraussetzungen und Bedürfnisse der Fluchtmigranten erlauben. Die Ergebnisse werden auf mehreren Praxisworkshops mit Interviewpartnern, Experten und Bürgern diskutiert.

Gefördert durch das Ministerium für Innovation, Wissenschaft und Forschung des Landes NRW
Projektlaufzeit: 10/2016 bis 08/2018


Highly Qualified Foreigners in North-Rhine Westphalian Cities – On the Integration of Migrants into Urban Communities against the backdrop of Municipal Integration and Internationalisation Policies

Processed by: Carmella Pfaffenbach and Daniela Imani with Claus-Christian Wiegandt from Bonn and Günther Weiss, Josef Nipper and Günter Thieme from Cologne

This research project focuses on how highly skilled migrants become integrated into urban communities. The integration process is analysed from the migrants’ point of view as well on the one hand as well as the perspectives of the local integration policy agents on the other. The project’s key aspects are the integration strategies developed by migrants, the locally established networks as well as the perception and use of the new urban spaces. On the municipal level the urban integration and internationalisation policies as well as the implementation of relevant measures or offers for this group are studied. A number of professional groups are surveyed in the four case cities Bonn, Dusseldorf, Essen and Cologne, which enables researching the integration processes in differing (spatial) environments. Based on qualitative interviews the situation of foreign “bohemians”, for example artists and publishers, and “creative professionals”, for example manager, executives, is looked into. The municipal perspectives are studied by talking to experts from the local administration and representatives of organisations as well as a by monitoring the integration policies. From a conceptual point of view this project links the migrants’ individual perspectives with the level of municipal policies.

Funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG)
Duration: 2012-2015


Planning a Sustainable Settlement Solution for Syrian Refugees in Jordan

Processed by: Muna Shalan

Since the onset of the conflict in Syria in 2011, Jordan has been hosting refugees who have fled violence in their home country. Jordan as a country of scarce natural resources and a struggling economy had to address further challenges that resulted from the refugee presence. Given that the refugee presence has evolved into a protracted displacement, an increasing pressure is facing the Jordanian economy, public infrastructure and social services. Against this reality, a strategic shift from mere humanitarian response to phased development rhetoric has been witnessed in the country’s approach towards the crisis, resulting in the Jordan Compact agreement between the government of Jordan and the international community. The overarching goal of this research is to contribute to planning for a sustainable transitional solution that improves livelihoods of the displaced population and serves the host country’s development interests. The research also contributes to knowledge in literature on refugee policy that effectively links refugee protection to development. Through the analysis of empirical cases, this research investigates the complex contextual and programming conditions under which the refugee response is being implemented. The research conclusions and recommendations target donors, policymakers, researchers and practitioners concerned with planning and managing the interim settlement of Syrian refugees in Jordan and other refugee contexts.

Funded by Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung
In progress since: January 2017


Are migrants upgrading their quarters themselves? Investment, home ownership and restoration processes in micro-centers of ethnic quarters by immigrant residents

Processed by: Mehmet Çelik

"Migrant neighborhoods, ethnic quarters, colonies, ghettos" are many terms for the urban segregation phenomenon of development of urban areas, where certain immigrant groups concentrate in major German cities. In social or political debates, but also in science, these urban spaces are usually afflicted with negative connotations. The concentration of migrants in a neighborhood is considered with a social and structural devaluation. Wilhelminian buildings are dilapidated, shops are empty and there is a negative image. The majority agrees more or less that the concentration of immigrants in a neighborhood is to be equated with a massive devaluation.

However, cities or neighborhoods are dynamic objects that are subject to constant change. Just in ethnic neighborhoods you can see multi-faceted and fast running change processes that change the quarters face. Especially in the last ten to fifteen years change processes can be seen. For example in the ethnic neighborhoods of the cities of Aachen and Cologne, upgrading processes are noticeable, which manifest themselves in form of very complex renovated buildings or shops. Also these quarters seem to become more attractive and attract audiences from outside, whether for living, shopping or leisure time. Initial studies are showing that the local, immigrant population is responsible for this improvement processes. It seems as though migrants, who are actually responsible for the devaluation are now upgrading their neighborhood themselves.

Given this information, the question is if the existing scientific view on ethnic quarters is still appropriate. That is why this PhD project is researching whether or not these current change processes could be a new phase of development or a new trend in ethnic quarters. As part of this work ten ethnic neighborhoods in major German cities will be analyzed. On one hand, general and statistical data on the quarters will be collected and analyzed to specific topics, on the other hand, richer subjective information is collected by qualitative short interviews with locals. Especially through interviews with locals, immigrant home owners and immigrant business owners, the characteristics and backgrounds of the current upgrading processes by the local residents will be analyzed in detail. This dissertation project is basically building upon and actualizing the scientific research about current dynamics and processes of ethnic quarters. Thereby upgrading processes are analyzed in those quarters as a priority. It is also a goal to develop and update latest scientific views of these neighborhoods as a manifestation of urban devaluation processes and local migrants as victims of segregation.

Duration: 2015-2018


Transnational social spaces and place attachment of Latin American graduates

Processed by: Claudia Lütkehoff

Within the discussions about the lack of qualified personnel and the immigration of highly skilled migrants in Germany, international university graduates are regarded as an immigration group with particularly high potential. The international graduates themselves show a high level of interest in staying in Germany after graduation, but only around half of them actually does so. Therefore, the objective of this dissertation project is investigating this discrepancy between the wish for remaining in Germany and actually (re-)migrating. The time between graduating and entering the labour market is an important transition phase, in which lots of personal, career-related and structural factors may influence the decision for remaining or (re-)migrating. In particular, the role of the individual transnational spaces and place attachment will be examined in order to illustrate the significance of the social embeddedness and the local conditions for the decision to (not) migrate. In order to allow a more differentiated consideration of the respective contexts of origin, the migrant group of Latin American graduates who had previously received little attention was selected. Using qualitative, problem-oriented guideline interviews, the aim is to record the conditions during this transition phase from university into the (German) labour market from the Latin American graduates’ point of view in order to better understand the process of deciding whether to stay or return.

In progress since: October 2017