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Social City "Unterliederbach - Engelsruhe"

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
The Engelsruhe estate is a purely residential area on the outskirts of Unterliederbach. Its origins are closely bound up with the foundation of Farbwerke Höchst, while its more recent development has been shaped by structural change.
In 1999 some 3,500 people lived in Engelsruhe, among them an above-average number of elderly people over 60, as well as children and youths. At 7.1 % the unemployment rate was slightly above the city average (6.7 %); the figure included many long-term unemployed persons (36.4 %) and people receiving social security benefits (9.8 %). While of the total population, around 27 % were foreigners. There were signs of increasing social tension and vandalism.
To support the residents at local level, from 1998 to 1999 the area was part of the EU’s “Third System and Employment Program”. As of March 1998 it was a focal area in the “Simple Urban Redesign, Section Integrative Urban Redesign” state program. In December 1999 it was continued in the “City districts with a special need for development – the Social City” project which the federal and regional governments had recently launched. It is limited to a period of 10 years plus a consolidation phase.

Development area
The planning area embraces the Engelsruhe residential estate in the east of Unterliederbach. The latter is in the west of Frankfurt, south of the A66 interstate at the Höchst exit. Downtown is approx. 9 km away.
Unterliederbach covers a surface area of around 36 hectares. It is bordered by Königsteiner Strasse in the southwest, Sossenheimer Weg (with Walter Kolb School) in the southeast, Höchst cemetery in the northeast, and in the northwest by the buildings on Cheruskerweg, which runs parallel to the A66 and serves as noise protection. The town of Sulzbach lies to the north of the A66 interstate.

Planning objectives
The “Social City” program, which includes the east of Unterliederbach and is run by the federal and state governments, provides an opportunity to spur urban renewal, mitigate social problems, promote local identity and develop approaches to foster local economy.
The aim is to get the local citizens on board in an effort to steady the district’s development and the local living conditions there and promote a vibrant social life in Unterliederbach.
Within the meaning of integrated district development, a number of different but complementary projects have been set up to transform the Engelsruhe residential estate into a viable area with positive future prospects.

Project progress
An integrated action concept adopted by the City Council (2001-3) forms the basis of the “Social City” program. For the most part the projects have several objectives. A range of different protagonists and cooperation partners ensure that they are carried out.
A “Social City” consultative council was constituted in order to ensure on-going resident involvement. There has thus been a district office at no. 135 Gotenstrasse since 2002.
Since the beginning of the program a whole host projects promoting social integration, urban planning and employment have been implemented, which are a positive influence on the development of the district and foster neighborly relations. Other construction projects with long-term prospects are currently on the drawing board and will be implemented during the extended consolidation phase.
The construction projects with predominantly long-term prospects date to the 2001-2 urban development framework plan. The renewal work concentrates on restructuring the footprints of the Hellerhof GmbH buildings on both sides of Markomannenweg with the introduction of a new district center.

The program officially ended in December 2012. It was followed by two years follow-up (=extended consolidation phase) in conjunction with the ‘Active Neighborhoods’ urban program as stated in the sustainability concept for Unterliederbach-Ost as decided in the City Council’s resolution of January 27, 2011. The follow-up program will provide district management for an additional two years (part-time position, Caritasverband Frankfurt) and allow the continuation of the neighborhood office as a low-threshold drop-in facility for residents. The community chest will be maintained for small local projects in the district. The City Planning Department, on the other hand, will be responsible for winding down the ‘Social City’ urban renewal scheme, including the implementation of the construction projects on the drawing board, the redesign of Cheruskerweg and ‘Neue Mitte’ district quarter in connection with the new buildings commissioned by Hellerhof GmbH / ABG. 


Neighborhood offices