Investitions- und Aufwertungsprozesse in ethnischen Quartieren deutscher Großstädte : Formen, Akteure/innen und Hintergründe

  • Investment and revaluation processes in ethnic quarters of major German cities : Forms, actors and backgrounds

Çelik, Mehmet; Pfaffenbach, Carmella Diana (Thesis advisor); Breckner, Ingrid (Thesis advisor)

Aachen (2019, 2020)
Dissertation / PhD Thesis

Dissertation, Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen, 2019


Migrant neighborhoods, ethnic quarters, colonies, ghettos are many terms for the urban segregation phenomenon of growth of urban areas, in which certain immigrant groups are concentrated in major German cities. Not only In social or political debates, but also in science, these urban spaces usually have negative connotations. Due to the presence of migrants, a quarter is seen as devalued both socially and structurally. Wilhelminian buildings are dilapidated, shops are empty and there is a negative image change. The majority is more or less in consensus: the migrant concentration in a quarter is equivalent to a massive devaluation. However, cities or quarters are dynamic structures that are subject to constant change. Of course, this does not only apply to spaces, but also to social and societal aspects. In the last ten to fifteen years in particular, change processes can be seen in ethnic quarters. These changes have been investigated in scientific studies since the early 2000s. These studies revealed that some migrants are financially capable to acquire and invest in residential property in ethnic quarters. Some research on this process identifies a supportive function for integration (Serap Firat 2002, Patricia Bernhardt 2008), while other studies (Heike Hanhörster since 2003) even speak of a stabilizing factor for disadvantaged neighborhoods, in order to counteract deficient developments in ethnic neighborhoods. Against this background, the question arises: is the present scientific view of ethnic quarters still timely? Most of the research on ethnic segregation in Germany was conducted in the 1970s to the 1990s. To what extent they also cover current dynamics is questionable. Results from the 21st century, in particular, indicate in part contrary developments than the deficit processes described in the literature about ethnic quarters. Therefore, this dissertation project focuses on the invesitgation of a total of eight ethnic quarters in various major cities in Germany. These are: Aachen-Elsassstraße, Cologne-Keupstraße, Düsseldorf-Kölner Straße, Mülheim an der Ruhr-Eppinghofer Straße, Wiesbaden-Wellritzstraße, Hanover-Steintor, Mannheim-Quadrate G2-3, H2-3 and Nuremberg-Gostenhofer Hauptstraße. First of all, the forms of investment and revaluation processes that exist in ethnic quarters, are recorded. The research focuses on how they look, how they are organized, and what effects they have on the urban space of the ethnic quarter. The focus is not only on home ownership, but on every investment made there. This may be the acquisition of a real estate or a commercial property, structural investments such as modernizations, renovations or social aspects such as foundations of organizations, events etc. It is made clear what forms and dimensions of investment and revaluation processes can be identified in the ethnic quarters investigated. Following this step, the actors and backgrounds behind these investment processes in ethnic neighborhoods are discussed. Overall, general statistical data on the respective/researched quarters is collected and analyzed according to different thematic bases. The results include mapping of the investigated quarters, in which the renovation status of buildings and shops as well as information about the actors are identified. Furthermore, qualitative interviews with local actors are used to determine more extensive data. In particular, interviews with local, migrant homeowners and business owners shed more light on the characteristics and background of the current revaluation processes by the residents. In summary, two conclusions can be drawn from the results. On the one hand, there are a total of three types of actors. Their forms of investment and the corresponding backgrounds in ethnic quarters are identified as: 1. The type of so-called self-rescuers usually includes first-generation guest workers who invest in their shops and businesses in order to modernize, attract and increase their efficiency. The shop represents the livelihood and basis of existence that has to be protected, due to numerous negative experiences they experienced as a guest worker. 2. The self-hedgers are second-generation migrants who no longer wish to return to their home country in retirement as planned. For the future, they long for security in Germany for themselves and their children. That‘s why they mostly buy residential properties with a shop on the ground floor. The building serves as a multi-generation house for the entire family network, which lives here and works together in the shop. Other apartments are also rented for additional income. 3. The self-realizers are mostly migrants born in Germany of younger, well-educated generations, who acquire property in the neighborhood for investment purposes, in order to realize self-development and self-realization wishes. The building is rarely used by them, but serves with its rental income as a means to realize personal life concepts/expectations. On the other hand, it is noted in all eight studied quarters that in addition to the investments through the acquisition and renovation of buildings, local businesses are also upgraded. Moreover, associations and interest groups are established to network the actors and represent them. Although there are many other migrant groups in the neighborhood, these processes are carried out in all study areas mainly by people of Turkish origin. No major differences between the eight ethnic quarters can be observed, which is why a new trend or a new phase of development in ethnic quarters can be assumed. The devaluation trend of the district is now more or less turning into an revaluation trend. The long-term residents experience an economic ascent/rise, identify themselves with their quarters as their final new homes, and thus they network, acquire buildings and invest in them or modernize their local shops. These results make it clear that the current state of research on ethnic quarters is not fundamentally wrong. Even today, there are still problematic ethnic quarters with negative corresponding characteristics. However, it also becomes clear that in several, different ethnic quarters there is a relatively similar process of ownership building and investment by residents of Turkish origin. This is to be seen as a new phase or a new trend, by which the current state of research would have to be supplemented or extended. At the same time, the types of actors identified in the quarters also show the situation of the corresponding migrant generation in Germany. The first, former generation of guest workers, is characterized by negative experiences and fears and endeavors to protect the livelihood in Germany. The second generation now recognizes Germany as a center of life and aims to buy property to serve as collateral here. The third generation, however, is rooted and integrated in Germany, taking advantage of the special circumstances of the ethnic quarter to realize personal and individual self-realization wishes.