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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
District: Completed:

Project description

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”.

Information on the project published by the City Planning Department

More information

Play areas and open spaces

Play area and open space at the "Anspacher Strasse" residential complex

Photo of the play and park area on Anspacher Straße, photo: Projektsteuerung K. Esser, Frankfurt, © Stadtplanungsamt Stadt Frankfurt am Main

 For a long time there were no suitable facilities for older children and youngsters to play and indulge in physical activity at the “Anspacher Strasse” residential complex located on the Gallus’ northwestern periphery. Through cooperation between the Social City program and ABG FRANKFURT HOLDING (the owner of the land) what was previously a toddlers’ playground on Anspacher Strasse was transformed into a playing surface suitable for soccer, basketball, and table tennis. Under the guidance of the “discorso” association, the children and youths were included closely in devising ideas for the site, in the planning process, and in the actual building work in the summer of 2007. The planning and building was financed by ABG FRANKFURT HOLDING and through a grant from the Social City program. With the support of the “Aktion Mensch” foundation, the Caritas charity (which also runs the local St. Martin nursery) has taken on the educational supervision of the playground for the coming three years. Organized sporting and leisure time activities are primarily intended to engender and train social skills, self-organization and a sense of responsibility among young people.

Galluspark II play and kickabout area in Kleyer Strasse

Photo of the new kic about area in Galluspark, photo: Projektsteuerung K. Esser, Frankfurt, © Stadtplanungsamt Stadt Frankfurt am Main

A long time was spent looking for somewhere that the children and young people in south Gallus could use for playing ball sports. An analysis of the area revealed that the only suitable space was the disused piece of land between the Galluspark residential complex and the former Adler works. In 2006 part of it was acquired for both a permanent and a temporary kickabout area. These were finished in October 2007 and handed over to the district at a big opening ceremony. The kickabout area has since been run by trained supervisors from the Department of Youth Welfare and Social Affairs, “Sportkreis Frankfurt” and “Nike” sports equipment company.
In order to ensure that the kickabout areas remain part of a multifunctional green, a participation program involving young people, local residents and investors was conducted as part of the development of the property into the new “Adlerquartiere” residential quarter. The key points resulting from this process provided the framework for the design of the new green, which was completed in the summer of 2016 and officially opened in November 2016 as the “Dr. Julius-Munk-Anlage”.

Quäkerwiese district pavillion

Provision of a container that serves as a temporary kiosk until the construction of the meeting point in the new Quäkerwiese district pavilion

Photo of the kiosk and café on Quäkerwiese, photo: Projektsteuerung K. Esser, Frankfurt, © Stadtplanungsamt Stadt Frankfurt am Main

 The upgrading of Quäkerplatz through the meeting point that is the “Quäkerwiese district pavilion”, which includes Paul Hindemith School, children’s facilities and a playground in the immediate vicinity, was one of the central projects in the “Social City Gallus” scheme. The demolition of the old kiosk building, the remodeling of the previously inaccessible plaza and the construction of the “Café Pause” kiosk in a freight container as a temporary solution were all important steps envisaged as part of the new design. Until such a time as the future district meeting point in the Quäkerwiese district pavilion was built, “Café Pause” played a decisive interim role, not only with regard to buildings but also in terms of its function – by changing its operating concept. Without alcohol and cigarettes being sold there, the new range of goods available is geared more to residents of all ages, schoolchildren and parents with children from the adjoining playground, thereby already referencing the future meeting point in the Quäkerwiese district pavilion. “Café Pause” was opened in September 2007 and its patio is a nice place to sit, especially in the warm summer months. For many residents this first interim step has considerably improved the general appeal of Quäkerwiese.

The district pavilion competition

District pavilion on the Quäkerwiese, design concept: DG/D Architekten Dahlhoff-Göth/Dorfmeister, © Stadtplanungsamt Stadt Frankfurt am Main

With a view to laying even stronger foundations for neighborhood life in this central spot at the heart of Gallus, as a non-profit-making district meeting point the Quäkerwiese district pavilion was earmarked to function as a drop-in and information center dealing with the issues Gallus residents have, even after the end of the “Social City” scheme. Integrating “Café Pause”, which was housed in a container, was intended to support the meeting point in terms of hospitality and enrich life in the district with another attraction.

In June 2008 the City of Frankfurt Planning Department, in collaboration with the Hessen Chamber of Architects, held a competition with a view to building an edifice of the highest quality in terms of architecture and function. The jury selected the design submitted by DG/D Architekten Dahlhoff-Göth/Dorfmeister as the proposal to be realized. The winning entry envisaged a rectangular building with a modern wooden façade and spacious outside terraces facing Frankenallee in the north of the plaza. Construction of the district pavilion began in the late summer of 2010 and was commissioned in June 2011. Parallel to the building work the surrounding open spaces were also remodeled. Ever since, the welcoming look-and-feel has not only attracted local residents from Gallus and the neighboring Europaviertel district, but interested visitors and tourists to Frankfurt too.
During the annual “Gallus Summer” the district pavilion and the adjoining area of greenery serve as a stage for an attractive cultural program.

Quäkerwiese District Pavilion - Program 2012 [1869 KB]

The redesign of Frankenallee with underpass

Photo of the redesign of Frankenallee, photo: Projektsteuerung K. Esser, Frankfurt, © Stadtplanungsamt Stadt Frankfurt am Main

One of the key projects in the Gallus is the remodeling of the tree-lined green strip extending on the central reservation of Frankenallee. A major urban transport axis, Frankenallee links the northern section of Gallus from east to west. The potential offered by the open space on Frankenallee is considerable – the overall surface area has the size of a municipal park. For this reason, shortly after the district had been included in the scheme, citizens and local politicians alike were already focusing on how best to enhance Frankenallee. Following an initial expert planning study of the potential for greening the reservation, in 2005 an extensive participation process involving residents and other protagonists was launched, which spawned the following points of consensus:

As of 2005, further activities run by the citizens’ group were:

  • A late summer stroll along Frankenallee.
  •  “Clean Frankenallee” action day.
  • A workshop devoted to improving Frankenallee with clear wishes by citizens with regard to the redesign: improving the intersection with and ends of Schwalbacher Strasse and the design of paths, improving the vegetation, planting flowers, ensuring they are tended to, finding sponsors, installing lighting.
  • An evening stroll devoted to safety and lighting, with test lighting.

The results of these meetings were incorporated into the list of assignments when five landscape architecture companies were commissioned to produce initial draft proposals. The concept developed by Neu-Isenburg’s Ipach und Dreisbusch was selected for further detailing and included the following elements: remodeling and enlarging the ends to make crossing Frankenallee easier; upgrading and increasing the quality of the green reservation by means of a new, wider path; removing the thick, impenetrable hedgerow and planting flowers instead; installing new lighting to improve attractiveness and safety; creating a presentable plaza in front of Friedenskirche and a plaza in the east of Quäkerwiese.

Redesign of Frankenallee on the intersection at Schwalbacher Straße, photo: Ipach Landschaftsarchitekten, © Stadtplanungsamt Stadt Frankfurt am Main

The first stage of building work between Schwalbacher Strasse and Friedenskirche was completed between October 2007 and February 2008 and officially inaugurated with a “festival of light” in April 2008.

The subsequent remodeling of the intersections with Krifteler Strasse and Schwalbacher Strasse was performed between September 2009 and February 2010.

The completed first section was finally opened for use by the local residents in May 2010 an event marked by “re-enacting the historical Frankenallee cycle race”. Since 2010, preparations have been underway readying the second section in the east between Schwalbacher Strasse and Galluswarte for construction work, set to commence in early January 2017.

In April 2011, the form the second phase of building work would take was also discussed with interested residents and the adjacent Günderrode School as part of a social City Gallus planning workshop. Following the early completion of one stage in December 2013, the second stage of building work was realized in full between November 2015 and April 2017. This involved renewing the sidewalks from Kelkheimer Strasse to the railroad underpass and installing new lighting. From Kriegkstrasse to the underpass, the islands in the middle were remodeled in a similar fashion to that in the first stage of building work. Wider footpaths, new benches, and extensive greening visibly increased the attractiveness of the boulevard. In addition, two underground glass containers were erected to replace the previous rather unattractive ones. At the intersections tactile paving for the blind in the form of grooved and nub slabs was laid, and the curbs were lowered. 

The areas at the end of Flörsheimer Strasse, Kriegkstrasse, and Hufnagelstrasse were enlarged and fitted with different-color concrete elements. At the intersection with Hufnagelstrasse a large globe indicating the countries of origin of the pupils at Günderrode School was erected as a symbol of the many cultures living side by side in the Gallus district. 
The third section between Friedenskirche and Homburger Damm is planned for the coming years. 

The key Social City project “Underpass cut into the Embankment at Frankenallee/Homburger Damm” associated with the remodeling of Frankenallee
would not only enable a continuous “Cycle Route 10” to be established from Downtown to Höchst” for pedestrians and cyclists, but also link the center of Gallus district with the previously isolated residential districts in the northwest. However, the realization of this complex project in collaboration with Deutsche Bahn still requires extensive preparation.

Conversion of the Teves West site

A 2005 rental agreement between KEG Konversionsentwicklungsgesellschaft mbH and the City of Frankfurt meant that the Teves site in the west of Gallus, commercial wasteland that had been lying disused for years, was secured for the “Social City Gallus” for a period of 25 years. Following repair and modernization, the empty workshop and canteen buildings today constitute a district center that is used primarily for education, activities, culture and sport.

Work on Building 277 commenced in 2005-6, which is now home to a training room and three artist’s studios.

Modernization of the former canteen building 254-256, photo: Beratungsgesellschaft für Stadterneuerung und Modernisierung Frankfurt mbH, © Stadtplanungsamt Stadt Frankfurt am Main

In summer 2008, the Turkish Günes Theater, complete with rehearsal stage, and the FaPrik gGmbH project “training kitchen with café-restaurant – Startorante” offering ten training places for the hospitality industry were established in the former canteen building.

Former canteen building at Teves-West, Startorante training kitchen, photo: Beratungsgesellschaft für Stadterneuerung und Modernisierung, © Stadtplanungsamt Stadt Frankfurt am Main

In 2009 the IB Technology Center and the Girls and Women Advice Center moved into the southern wing of the adjoining premises, while the northern wing was occupied by the “Boxcamp” project run by “Sportjugend Frankfurt”. The construction of a new pedestrian path between Rebstöcker Strasse and Ehinger Strasse extending to the Friedrich Ebert estate now links the site with its residential neighborhoods.

In line with the basic interpretation of the “Social City” program run by the federal and state governments, the “Teves West” project has several objectives. Social and cultural activities were intended to impact on the entire district. Appropriate qualification measures and employment projects are available with a view to buttressing the local economy. These are aimed above all at young people in the southern Gallus.

Ultimately, the creative conversion of this former commercial site not only succeeded in linking up and stabilizing the Gallus district and the Friedrich Ebert residential estate in term of urban development. The services provided by the sociocultural Teves Center will help the new residents in the future “Kleyerquartier” get settled and feel at home in the mature Gallus district.

Social projects in the Social City Gallus with no investment in infrastructure

Street sign at the entrance to the Teves-West complex, © Stadtplanungsamt Stadt Frankfurt am Main

Numerous social projects in the LOS, SvO, HEGISS – Innovationen and Xenos funding schemes assisting the Social City helped broaded and promote the variety of activities underway in Gallus to help children, young people and men and women gain qualifications and employment.

Projects in the LOS and SvO funding schemes:
Since 2006, 57 micro-projects have been run in conjunction with the LOS scheme (local capital for social purposes) and under the aegis of the Municipal Department of Youth Welfare and Social Affairs. All of these aimed at fostering skills and qualifications, as well as promoting the integration of disadvantaged resident communities in Gallus. The complementary SvO scheme enabled a further 31 projects until 2011.

Projects that are part of HEGISS – Innovationen:
Between 2006 and 2009 HEGISS – Innovationen made available additional subsidies from the Social City scheme by the federal and state governments to finance model measures in areas where no investments in infrastructure were required.

In relation to the Social City Gallus a total of six HEGISS – Innovationen projects (between three and five years long) were approved between 2007 and 2013:

Gallus – 1:1 für Ausbildung
Duration: April 1, 2007 – March 31, 2012

In connection with the Social City, the “Sportkreis Frankfurt e.V.” and “Jugend braucht Arbeit e.V.” associations used “Gallus - 1:1 für Ausbildung” in a bid to advance youth career support in the district. The focus was on improving training capacities in local companies by way of a model solution. The project took off thanks to the positive approach of two sponsors wishing to promote new ways of gaining qualifications and training.

By the end of the funding phase Sportkreis Frankfurt e.V. had managed to place the project on a permanent footing.

New partnerships – Education and employment in the Alte Braunfabrik multi-generation building in Frankfurt  
Duration: Jan. 1, 2008 – December 31, 2010

The German Federal Department of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth selected the KIZ Gallus association to establish a multi-generation building in Frankfurt’s former Braun factory at Idsteiner Strasse. With the support of Hessen’s Social City community initiative, two modules from the fields of education and employment were included in the association’s range of services. Thanks to the HEGISS – Innovationen program it was possible not only to “improve the numbers of participants by way of a training and education partnership” advice center, but also to strengthen the women’s cooperative during a three-year “incubator” phase. The cooperative was run by women’s businesses in collaboration with “berami” (career, education, and consultation for migrants)

New partnerships
Education and activity in the Alte Braunfabrik multi-generation building in Frankfurt

Duration: Jan. 1, 2008 – December 31, 2010

The additional funding scheme XENOS sponsored by the European Social Fund and the Federal Department of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth helped get the “Employment perspectives for women and youth with migrant roots (women’s cooperative)” program on its feet. The proud result was a family restaurant, household-related offerings and other forms of support, for example a midwife.

Together in Gallus – A network of neighborhoods
Duration: March 1, 2008 – February 28, 2011

The project led by Frankfurt’s Caritas branch was devoted to setting up meeting points and drop-in centers for local residents throughout the district. These agencies liaise with one another in a bid to extend the facilities beyond the local context to reach the entire district. The initial focus of the project was to promote communication, provide services to solve problems between the various social and ethnic neighborhoods, and deliver neighborly help in all household-related matters.

“Kiezläufer” (neighborhood outreach) is the second part of the project. It involved setting up a team of residents that regularly walks about in the district in an effort to get in touch with other residents. The group also provides information about what is available and mediates in major problem situations.

The third part of the project is the “Nachbarn im Gallus” neighborhood association which teamed up with the churches in the district to establish the “Quartierspavillon Quäkerwiese” future neighborhood meeting point as a platform for civic involvement in Gallus.

The Frankfurt Caritas Association succeeded in making two project modules permanent in the district.

Small Globe Theater
Duration: January 1, 2009 – December 31, 2011

Theater productions staged by “Kleine Welttheater” formed part of a cooperation project run by the two associations “ora da!” and “zwischenraum e.V.”. The aim was to provide career guidance to young adults at the transition stage from school to vocational training. By bringing together different, theater-related crafts the young participants not only gained a valuable insight into how the various qualifications relate to each other, but were also able to an acquire a certificate in Scenery and Stage Sculpture, as well as Wood and Metal from the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IHK).

Strengthening the educational skills of parents with migrant backgrounds
Bridges for parents with children moving on from primary school to secondary education and employment

Duration: March 1, 2010 – April 30, 2013

Internationaler Bund e.V. assists parents living in Gallus in addressing their children’s interests and skills. By strengthening the parents’ skills in raising kids and familiarizing them with both outreach sources and the school and training schemes available, the parents will be able to play a more active role in supporting their children’s integration in school and employment. The parents were consciously briefed at the schools, for example with the help of parents’ cafés and interpreters or suitably qualified parents for language assistance at parents’ evenings. The IB was able to prove the validity of the project approach in the course of the WAMBO welcome scheme.

Gallus exhibition space
Duration: April 1, 2010 – March 31, 2013

Since April 2010 “Jugendkulturwerkstatt Falkenheim e.V.” has rented an exhibition space that displays the artistic output of children and young people living in Gallus for one month at a time. The project aims not only to showcase the achievements of the children and youngsters in a shop window, but to provide them with further opportunities to meet in an art-related setting. Following the success of this approach, the project was transformed into a mobile exhibition space after funding stopped.

LOS-Förderzeiträume [14 KB]

Auflistung der Einzelprojekte der
LOS-Förderzeiträume Soziale Stadt Gallus

Gallus "Social City" Consultative District Council

Gallus "Social City" Consultative District Council

In order to ensure the ongoing and long-term inclusion of the residents in the Social City renewal process, in 2003-4, in collaboration with Local Consultative Council 1, a concept for a “Social City” Consultative District Council was devised and implemented in the district. The Municipal Authorities passed a separate resolution for the formation and composition of each of the four Consultative District Councils.

The “Social City” Consultative District Council first began its work at a constituent meeting on March 25, 2004. Following two successful years’ of work on the Integrated Action Concept (IHk), the first period in office ended in March 2006. The Council was then reelected for a further two years, with periods dating from 2006 to 2008, 2009 to 2012 and finally the ContinuityCouncil from 2013 to 2014.

The members of the Consultative District Council included 19 residents (elected by secret ballot at a public residents’ assembly) and 18 representatives of institutions, clubs, initiatives in the zone designated for the project (appointed by the bodies themselves). The City Planning Department, the district management and the project steering committee attended the meetings as consultant members.

Not only did the Consultative District Council make important recommendations for the Integrated Action Program and the design of the overall process; part of its brief was to represent the interests of local residents in the Social City Gallus. In addition, it provided an opportunity for exchanging ideas between residents and those in office in the district, not to forget for personal commitment, for example in the history workshop.

The Consultative District Council elected to oversee the Continuity Phase in 2013/4 reduced its members to 24 overall. Having a community chest at its disposal, it was for the first time in a position to support minor social projects and activities destined to foster good neighborhood relations in the long term.

In March 2015, with the urban revitalization procedure having come to an end, the then head of department bid all the members of the Consultative District Council on the four Consultative Council committees farewell at an official ceremony.