Berlin’s Neighbourhood Management (NM) program is the capital city’s implementation of the national ‘Social City’ initiative. Both schemes aim to help disadvantaged inner city neighbourhoods and suburban neighbourhoods, promoting social cohesion through involving residents in decision-making processes affecting their local neighbourhood.
The NM program achieves this through creating ‘Neighbourhood Councils’ for the neighbourhood participating in the program. These councils give residents a “voice†, providing a platform for discussion and consultation, as well as enabling residents to participate in deciding how funds from the Social City program should be used to fund local regeneration projects.
The program aspires to put local residents ‘on the map’. Residents are recognized as ‘local experts’, as they have the best picture of the situation on the ground, knowing better than anyone the problems their neighbourhood faces, as well as its potential. It also seeks to improve networking and communication within and among the local community, as well as with other stakeholders such as local authorities, community centres, religious organisations, and cultural associations.
In simple terms, the program’s aim is to ensure that people live together, rather than coexisting anonymously or even working against each other. The core of this initiative lies in helping people to help themselves, which means empowerment. It is thus a process in which social capital helps to compensate for a lack of financial capital. You can read more about the program’s goals, the Neighbourhood Councils, and the Neighbourhood Funds by using the menu on the left .