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Social City Sossenheim

Urban revitalization
District: Local district:
Size of area:
159 ha
Project management:

Ms. Bettina Boknecht
Telefon: +49 (0)69 212 37864
Telefax: +49 (0)69 212 30731

Ms. Daniela Evans
Telefon: +49 (0)69 212 44788
Telefax: +49 (0)69 212 30731

Project description

Planning reason
In late 2017, Sossenheim was included in the “Social City” program run by the Federal and Hessen state governments. Having grown historically from a village along a road, Sossenheim lacks a classic center with a corresponding retail infrastructure. In the 1960s and 1970s, as part of the subsidized housing construction program, four large satellite-like residential estates were built on the outskirts of the original settlement area, and to this day they to a large extent define the structural and social fabric of the district.

For decades now, these mono-functional dormitory communities in particular have been characterized by social segregation, which has led to a concentration of low-income households. Unemployment, poverty in old age, a high proportion of single-parent families as well as low levels of both employment among women and participation in education among children are part and parcel of everyday life. On top of which local inhabitants are strongly international in composition, which poses particular challenges in terms of linguistic, economic, and social integration.

Alongside the problems in terms of social structure Sossenheim also has to contend with the absence of an adequate retail and transport infrastructure for a district with 16,000 inhabitants. Nor does the ambiance of public spaces live up to its full potential, such that there are few points where public life can blossom.

The “Social City” program is intended to promote development of the district with a view to improving the quality of life there in the long term.

Planning area 
For the moment the planning area embraces 159 hectares and around 10,000 inhabitants. It includes most of the Sossenheim settlement with the historical core and the four major residential estates. There are also significant areas of greenery and open space in the planning area.

Planning objectives
The aim of the support program is to step up the “soft measures” of district management and, as an investment, to advance the quality of life in the long-term through improvements to the living environment and amenities.

One important topic will be to link the individual parts of the settlement, as well as the areas of greenery and open spaces so as to provide better access to and make better use of these and the existing public infrastructure. At the same time the plan is to enhance the ambiance of roads, plazas, and semi-public natural environments. As a result, the public domain will be accorded greater significance and attract more attention in the district and will encourage the inhabitants of Sossenheim to spend more time in it.

Furthermore, the social, cultural, economic, linguistic, and health-related integration in particular of children, youths, women, the unemployed, migrants, and the elderly are important objectives. This also means that overall the “Social City” measures are intended to lead to improved co-existence and communal life among all the district’s inhabitants.

However, it is not just about improvements in the district itself, but also about a positive change to the district’s image and how the city as a whole perceives it in terms of a local recreation area and a district with a high quality of life. The “Social City” support program is intended to bring to an end the long-term neglect on the part of planners of Sossenheim and its inhabitants.

Project Progress
The support program will begin with the drafting of an Integrated Urban Development Concept (IUDC), in which the district’s strengths and weaknesses will be analyzed and development goals for the future agreed. In a subsequent set of measures individual projects will be outlined which are intended to implement these development goals.
The IUDC will be prepared with the participation of the inhabitants of  Sossenheim and local players. A district management team housed in a local district office will act as the focal point for inhabitants. The district management team will proactively provide information, advise on and coordinate all questions and issues associated with SOCIAL CITY Sossenheim. 

The development of the IUDC began in the second quarter of 2019. Public events will enable the inhabitants and local associations and institutions to be heavily involved in the drafting work, and thus make their ideas known. Furthermore, they will in future be able to play an active role through the “CONSULTATIVE COUNCIL SOCIAL CITY Sossenheim”. This makes important decisions relating to the SOCIAL CITY Sossenheim program and represents the interests of the district’s inhabitants on a permanent basis. The flyer “Consultative Council SOCIAL CITY Sossenheim” below contains further information.

Contingent fund of the City of Frankfurt/Main
With a view to strengthening its commitment to the common good, the City of Frankfurt is making available to those districts undergoing urban renewal a budget (contingent fund) for the execution of minor local projects and measures. In an unbureaucratic way the fund will enable independent civic activity in the non-investment field.

More information


Im Rahmen des Förderprogramms ist die Einrichtung eines „Beirates SOZIALE STADT Sossenheim“ als Beteiligungsgremium vorgesehen. Die Stadt Frankfurt am Main hat bereits gute Erfahrungen mit dem Einrichten eines Beirates für Gebiete der „Sozialen Stadt“ gemacht.

Der Beirat ist ein ehrenamtliches Gremium bestehend aus Vertreterinnen und Vertretern der Sossenheimer Bewohnerschaft sowie verschiedener Institutionen, Vereine und Initiativen. Der Beirat vertritt die Wünsche und Bedarfe der Sossenheimerinnen und Sossenheimer im gesamten Programmverlauf und berät über Projektvorschläge sowie notwendige Veränderungen im Stadtteil. Weiterhin dient der Beirat als beratendes Gremium für die Ortsbeiräte und Stadtverordneten. Der Beirat trifft sich regelmäßig und tagt öffentlich, um die Anregungen und Wünsche der Sossenheimer Bewohnerschaft in das Projekt einzubringen.

Der Beirat wird im Laufe der Erstellung des Integrierten Städtebaulichen Entwicklungskonzeptes (ISEK) gebildet. Er wirkt bei der Erarbeitung des ISEK mit und gibt seine Zustimmung zu dem fertigen Konzept. In der Umsetzungsphase des ISEK stellt der Beirat wichtige Weichen zur Priorisierung von Maßnahmen und dient als Multiplikator, der innerhalb der Bewohnerschaft und bei lokalen Akteuren für Akzeptanz und Mitwirkungsbereitschaft an der Maßnahmenumsetzung wirbt.

Das Quartiersmanagement engagiert sich derzeit im Stadtteil bei Anwohnerinnen und Anwohnern sowie lokalen Akteuren für eine aktive Teilnahme am „Beirat SOZIALE STADT Sossenheim“. Die konstituierende Sitzung wird voraussichtlich im November 2019 stattfinden. Interessierte können sich gerne per E-Mail an die Ansprechpartnerinnen des Stadtplanungsamtes Frau Boknecht und Frau Evans wenden.

Beirat SOZIALE STADT Sossenheim, © Stadtplanungsamt Stadt Frankfurt am Main

Verfügungsfonds der Stadt Frankfurt am Main
Zur Stärkung eines gemeinwohlorientierten Engagements stellt die Stadt Frankfurt am Main den Gebieten der Stadterneuerung ein Budget (Verfügungsfonds) für die Durchführung von lokalen Kleinprojekten und Maßnahmen zur Verfügung. Durch den Fonds soll bürgerschaftliches Handeln im nicht-investiven Bereich eigenverantwortlich und unbürokratisch ermöglicht werden.

Integriertes Städtebauliches Entwicklungskonzept

SOCIAL CITY Sossenheim information market on June 24, 2019, © Stadtberatung Dr. Sven Fries

In the space of a year the bidding syndicate consisting of Dr. Sven Fries from Speyer and BIERBAUM.AICHELE.landschaftsarchitekten from Frankfurt/Main will prepare the Integrated Urban Development Concept (IUDC) for the SOCIAL CITY Sossenheim development zone. THE IUDC will form the basis of the subsequent implementation of measures in the development area. THE IUDC will be prepared with the active participation of residents of Sossenheim as well as local players and initiatives.

SOCIAL CITY Sossenheim information market on June 24, 2019, © Stadtberatung Dr. Sven Fries

On the basis of a fact check and an analysis of strengths and weaknesses, the IUDC will formulate objectives-related statements with regard to relevant issues and problems in Sossenheim. Furthermore, with a view to achieving those objectives, it will propose individual projects, which will be implemented within development area boundaries that still have to be defined. All the individual projects form part of the overall portfolio of measures, in which for each proposed project there is an initial estimation of the costs and a schedule. Compilation of the IUDC will be coordinated with the funding body as well as Sossenheim residents and local players. The IUDC will then be formally adopted by the city councilors, from when it will serve as the guideline for action during the implementation stage.

SOCIAL CITY Sossenheim information market on June 24, 2019, © Stadtberatung Dr. Sven Fries

For the ten-year duration of the SOCIAL CITY Sossenheim subsidy scheme, on the basis of the Integrated Urban Development Concept applications will be submitted annually to the funding agency for financial resources to enable implementation of the individual projects listed in the set of measures. Realization of these projects will be planned and coordinated with Sossenheim players on an ongoing basis. District participation and city control structures that were put in place during the compilation of the IUDC will apply for the entire duration of the scheme.

District management

Since May 2019 the company Stadtberatung Dr. Sven Fries has been tasked with the district management for SOCIAL CITY Sossenheim. For the entire duration of the scheme (approx. ten years) Dr. Sven Fries, Ms. Anna Pohling and Ms. Zlatica Niznanska will assist the City Planning Department with its implementation and the participation of Sossenheim residents.

The district management team is the main point of contact for local residents as well as Sossenheim players and initiatives. As such it is an important link between the district of Sossenheim and the City of Frankfurt/Main, guaranteeing that the concerns of local residents are heard and ensuring the constant exchange of information between all those involved in the urban renewal process. In this way, local social issues are taken into account by politicians and the municipal authorities both in the preparation of the Integrated Urban Development Concept (IUDC) and in the implementation stage.
In addition, the district management team explains the politically-driven activity of the administrative authorities to the residents of Sossenheim, thereby ensuring that the measures are understood and accepted. Consequently, the district management team is an important information hub and interface, both in the district itself and with regard to the authorities. Hosting various types of event and mediating in the event of conflicts are further important functions it fulfills.
After setting up a district office in Sossenheim the district management team will be available on the ground five days a week at specific times to answer all questions relating to the support program. The managers will also be regularly out and about on a cargo bike in the district in order to talk to local residents on the street in various areas about Sossenheim and daily life in the district.

District management, from left to right: Managing Director Dr. Sven Fries, project leader Anna Pohling and district manager Zlatica Niznanska, © Stadtberatung Dr. Sven Fries