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Local Matters

How neighbourhoods and services affect the social inclusion and exclusion of young people in European cities

Edited By Simon Güntner, Louis Henri Seukwa, Anne Marie Gehrke and Jill Robinson

Where young people grow up makes a decisive difference to their life chances. Drawing on case studies from ten European cities, this book looks at how the local environment and the services available for young people affect their socialization. What comes to the fore are the local matters. On the one hand, there are experiences of discrimination and marginalization due to distance and isolation, decay and neglect but also related to piecemeal and top-down approaches to youth and social services. On the other, we find signs of positive transformation and drivers of social innovation: community building projects, the revitalization of abandoned places, appreciative approaches to servicing and a whole array of tactics that young people deploy to overcome their daily struggles.

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Hamburg: Dulsberg and Langenhorn Essener Straße (Anne-Marie Gehrke / Simon Güntner / Louis Henri Seukwa)

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Anne-Marie Gehrke, Simon Güntner and Louis Henri Seukwa

Hamburg: Dulsberg and Langenhorn Essener Straße

Abstract: In a highly segregated city, young people in disadvantaged neighbourhoods find few positive role models, attractive public spaces or sustainable local social infrastructure. New services like the Youth Employment Agency have difficulties in reaching out to these young people as many withdraw to private spaces and seek help from friends and family.

1. Introduction

Hamburg is a city with many faces. It hosts one of the world’s biggest ports and is known as Germany’s centre of media and creative industries. A huge regeneration project (Hafencity) and a new concert hall (Elbphilharmonie) underline the city’s rapid transformation and its ambitions. With huge differences in average income, unemployment and other indicators, however, Hamburg is socially more divided than other German cities. Some affluent areas have poverty rates close to zero, whilst in others every second child and every fourth pensioner are at risk of poverty. This chapter looks at the conditions under which young people in two of the less favourable areas grow up. We found that the young people living there strive for an imagined and stereotypical middle-class life despite an absence of respective role models and with few opportunities to achieve their aspirations. Rather, supportive services and infrastructure have been cut back, and there are hardly any attractive places to go and to hang out. As a reaction, many pull back from public space into...

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