In no other German city is the social gap between the districts as wide as in Hamburg, is the social division so tangible - this is roughly the stereotype that is often mentioned in political discussions in connection with the Hanseatic city.
However, a qualitative study by the North Office of the Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation (FES) puts this statement into perspective. For the survey, which was presented on Friday, a series of focused interviews and group discussions were carried out in various parts of the city, but the statements derived from them are not representative of the entire population.
Rather, the SPD-affiliated foundation worked out a picture of the mood, which was then compared with a similar study in Bremen. The conclusion for both cities: "We could not find any hard division processes that potentially endanger peaceful coexistence in diversity and the basic democratic order." speak to your own neighborhood. The respondents are predominantly proud of their cities and would emphasize the tolerant climate.
But some "pain points" were also worked out, and this is where Hamburg and Bremen differ. In Hamburg, the problem of high housing costs was the dominant issue in every conversation, across all of the interviewees' living environments. The desire for more government regulation of the housing market was often mentioned. In Hamburg, increasing "eventing" of the city was also classified as problematic, and there was too much focus on expanding tourism. In addition, questions of personal mobility in the city were critically assessed - this topic even made it to first place in Bremen.
“A comparison of the Hamburg groups surveyed shows that the problem pressure in the inner-city districts is greater than in Bremen for all three issues,” say the study leaders, summing up the differences between the two city-states. Accordingly, political frustration is greater in Hamburg “and the focus on one’s own district as a space for identification – in contrast to the city as a whole – is stronger”.
In both cities, at least among those surveyed, there is hardly any willingness to get involved politically - the expectations of politicians to get more involved in the problem areas mentioned, however, are high. According to the study leaders, “direct political intervention is explicitly desired” in inner-city areas in particular.
And this request is aimed less at top politicians who come by for a moment, but at local politicians on site. If there is "a lack of improvement in people's living conditions", appearances that are perceived as inappropriate could even "promote the frustrated turning away from politics overall". On the other hand, top politicians are welcome in districts of Hamburg that "are more striving for recognition" because they "lead to more self-confidence and the desired increased attention".