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Social City Gallus

Integrated urban revitalization process as per the Federal/States “Districts in Urgent Need of Development – the Social City” program (section 171e BauGB)

Urban revitalization



Reason for planning
In late 2001 the Gallus district was included in the scheme entitled “Stadtteile mit besonderem Entwicklungsbedarf - die Soziale Stadt” (City districts with a special need for development – the Social City”) run by the German federal and state governments. As a district with a predominantly industrial history, Gallus has been particularly hard hit by structural change. The lack of jobs in industry and commerce, the concentration of socially disadvantaged citizens, in particular of people with migrant backgrounds (approx. 41.5 %) and of poorly qualified workers were the reason the district was designated a Social City area. Heavy environmental pollution from the numerous roads, a lack of public greenery, open spaces and play areas, as well as a backlog in the modernization of existing accommodation all characterize the quarter. The “Social City Gallus” is meant to exploit the beneficial impact provided by new urban developments such as the “Europaviertel” adjacent in the north in a socially acceptable way.

Development district
The “Social City Gallus” project in
cludes a total of approx. 284 hectares and, with currently around 32,000 residents (as at 2015), is one of Frankfurt’s biggest districts. Situated on the western edge of the city, the Gallus today still stands out for its historical location between the former freight railway station in the north (today’s “Europaviertel” district) and the approach to the main station in the south. Given its position between the two sets of main rail tracks, in the 19th century numerous factories located here, and Gallus became an independent and prospering industrial district. Following the industrial and commercial premises, from 1900 onwards extremely dense workers’ living quarters emerged, and in the 1920s, 1930s, and 1950s the Hellerhof and Friedrich Ebert estates were also built. Today, Gallus is characterized by a lack of green spaces and play and recreation areas for use by the public.

Planning objectives
The integrative approach adopted by the “Social City” program run by the federal and state governments gave the City of Frankfurt an opportunity to spur urban renewal in Gallus as a district, ameliorate social problems, promote local identity and intercultural integration, and strengthen the local economy.

Project progress
In advance of the Integrated Action Concept (IHk), some projects such as the “Europa Playground” in the future “Europaviertel” district have been realized. As the management entity for the housing district and the projects, the “Social City Gallus” office in the district opened in 2003 on Frankenallee. Since then it has served as a drop-in and information center for all interested residents. Shortly afterwards work began on devising the Integrated Action Concept, which described the situation in the area in detail, developed approaches for action and defined goals for the renewal process. .With the Consultative Local Council, which was set up in 2004 and is a voluntary committee comprising local residents and representatives of key institutions, heavily involved in the process, the Integrated Action Concept was agreed on and a resolution passed by the City Council in July 2006. Other projects followed, such as the climbing wall in the sports hall at Paul Hindemith comprehensive school (October 2004) and the remodeling of the inner courtyard at the senior citizens’ center at the Hellerhof development. With the senior citizens living in the vicinity closely involved, planning and construction took a mere six months.

As of 2006 further projects followed, such as the “Playground on Anspacher Strasse” (summer 2007), the Galluspark II kickabout area (October 2007) and the “Café Pause” kiosk container which preceded the new “Quäkerwiese district pavilion”.
Before that the tree-lined section of Frankenallee between Schwalbacher Strasse and Fischbacher Strasse was remodeled. Am
ong other things, lighting was installed, (March 2008) and attractive plazas at each end and in front of Friedenskirche designed. The intersections were also turned into areas with a speed limit of 30 kilometers per hour (March 2010).

The further modernization of Frankenallee to the Galluswarte is due to be completed in early 2017. An urban development competition for the “Galluswarte”, the structure marking the beginning of the district, highlight most vividly the design framework for this important entrance to the district and formed the basis of its structural and spatial transformation as of 2019. The “Galluswarte” itself, a cultural monument, was refu8rbished beforehand and has been open for visitors since 2014.

Up until 2008, the buildings on the disused “Teves – West” commercial site were modernized to house social facilities. Similar to a “social and cultural center”, it offered the district various facilities for training, qualifications, and activities, as well as a restaurant / café, theater, artists’ studios, and a boxing camp. With these facilities, the dedicated organizers will continue in future to assume an important role in integration for the new “Kleyerquartier” residential area that is under construction all around.
With a view to stabilizing peaceful coexistence and improving the neighborhoods and the opportunities for education and employment of the people living in Gallus, numerous other social and cultural projects were implemented between 2004 and 2012.
As did an “image campaign”, these measures helped place the qualities and charm of the Gallus district in a positive light for its inhabitants and indeed the City of Frankfurt as a whole. On behalf of Active Neighborhoods since 2015 this work has been continued in the Frankenallee neighborhood office by the district management in conjunction with new formats such as the “Health Weeks” and the “Gallus Summer”.