Regional and local integration concepts

Integration concepts, unlike integration laws, are mostly legally non-binding instruments of municipal or urban policy to politically organise the integration of immigrants and the promotion of coexistence. Up to now it has especially been local authority districts with historically high rates of immigration that have used integration concepts as control mechanisms. Municipalities in southern Germany have such concepts at their disposal much more often than those in eastern Germany. Since the so-called “refugee crisis” the interest in integration concepts could also increase in non-traditional regions of immigration. An example is the new “Saxon Immigration and Integration Concept”(Zuwanderungs- und Integrationskonzept - ZIK). The research project is concerned with the functions and areas of activity of the integration concepts. A particular focus here is placed on the intended and unintended political consequences, as well as the perception of integration, which becomes apparent in the concepts. It asks how the concept is received by local actors and whether, in this regard, it is met with high demand. The aim is thus to evaluate strengths and weaknesses in particular against the background of the implementation on the ground. There is a particular focus put on the Free State of Saxony, which is supplemented for the purposes of comparison by rural regions in other federal states as well as a selection of European cities and communities.