Since 2014, the number of refugees in Potsdam is constantly increasing. In 2015 alone, Potsdam accommodated over 1.600 refugees. Most of them are housed in large, shared community shelters.
To enable a faster integration process, the city strives to provide separate flats and better living standards upon their arrival. With the limited number of available flats for rent in the city, this process has proven very challenging.
In previous years, around 4% of Potsdam’s population were foreigners and refugees. With the refugee crises in 2014/20 15, the city was suddenly faced with operational but also psychological challenges. The facilitation of adequate housing and facilities for refugees does therefore also require additional services: The care of social workers, neighbourhood and community activities, city fairs and additional occasions allowing the community to meet and get to know one another, and the availability of international councillors and mediators.
The Staudenhof-Project for Housing and Communication is centred around the accommodation of refugees in Potsdam and their integration into the society.
Objectives /Overarching goals:
▶ Refugees, who arrive in Potsdam, should not be accommodated in large, 100 + community shelters. Where possible, they should
be accommodated in a more personal environment and receive their own flats, next door to German, local neighbours. The aim is to support and enable a better integration process from the start.
▶ Though refugees should receive their own flat, they should also have access to other facilities and the possibility to meet in small
or big groups to practice their religion and native traditions. Those community spaces should also allow for education, language course and individual counselling.
▶ There should be an opportunity for refugees, their neighbours and surrounded community to meet one another in a comfortable
environment such as a community centre in order to spend time together, get to know one another and create joint projects.
▶ Overall, the housing project should be integrated the existing community, should attract and invite people across the city. Creating an open-minded, tolerant and welcoming community sits at the heart of the campaign.
Currently, the housing project is comprised of 30 flats and 77 residents with migration background. It is supported by numerous volunteers, including several ProPotsdam employees.
Numerous events in the community centre such as advanced training course for ProPotsdam-Belegschaft/employees worked as opportunities to create the sense of a community.
At the same time, the establishment and operation of an “Open-invitation-institute” enhanced the networking opportunity for people in the neighbouring community.
Nationwide, the project is considered a model for housing and seamless integration of refugees. Many people from Germany as well as other countries have visited the community centre
and reached out regarding the project and its positive impact.
The creation of ‘housing associations’ in mature neighbourhoods is the first step towards a successful and seamless integration of refugees. Therefore, housing associations are a model
for refugee accommodation that can also be implemented in other places.
The collaboration of a variety of stakeholders like artists, companies, associations, non-profit organizations, volunteers, neighbours, citizens, etc. as a concept itself but also the fact that all
entities of the cooperation where part of the preparation-phase, the implementation and now, the transfer to additional locations, is unique to this project.
The rapid implementation of the project was only possible through dialogue-based, network-like cooperation and communication between all parties. It should serve as an example for
projects that rely on the alignment of administrative, political, business and civil-society processes.
Location: Pappelallee 4, 14469, Potsdam, Germany
Number of dwellings managed by the organization: 17.500