Before we become neighbours

text: Rosa Hauch

Formally, this is done quickly. Flats are allocated. Tenants move in. They are strangers as neighbours. They often don’t recognise each other outside the building. And in many cases it stays that way for years. Every year, around 20,000 to 25,000 people cope with this situation as national and international newcomers to Dresden.

The physical and emotional arrival in Dresden are often two pairs of shoes and it should develop into a constructive, creative and pleasant coexistence.

For this reason, Roland Schwarz, Director of the Technical Collections in Dresden, generously made his 5th floor available for a World Café for brainstorming. After all, it’s a big topic. There is a lot of discussion about it – on the train, at the regulars’ table, at demonstrations. And sometimes it gets loud. But when eyes, ears and minds are open to questions and ideas, when federal and local politicians are there and take their time, when microphones and pens are available, only a few neighbours are interested in neighbours.

For Jürgen Dudeck from the Round Table for Senior Citizens and People with Disabilities, neighbourliness is important for democracy because there are many tensions that need to be resolved. The town hall is often not the right place to discuss things, according to the Pro Pieschen association. Either you get a hail of refusals or you don’t get an answer at all, says the representative, who gives up trying to get an awning for the sandpit of a playground.

The riesa efau multi-generation centre has been working well for 15 years. From 2023, there will be very specific monthly neighbourhood activities, thanks to the funding. These include neighbourhood breakfasts with flea markets, neighbourhood ping pong, plant swaps and the storytelling bench in the riesa efau courtyard. But one thing is a fact, says Beate Neuber: “The problem of loneliness is growing.”

If you don’t want to, you don’t have to talk to anyone, because there are digital helpers everywhere.

We communicate via social media platforms, in writing and with icons if we need to get more intense, shopping is quicker at the self-service checkout, and we can use the lift to get up and down the house. But if the lift is out of order, you can talk for longer at the front door. Inviting someone in to talk, for example for tea or coffee – a completely new option

Dresdner Nachbarschaften – sichtbar, vernetzt, engagiert!

Neighbourhoods are everywhere – we are right in the middle of it. With district walks, conversations in the green, creative workshops, exhibitions and much more.

Supported by

The project is funded by the State Ministry for Social Affairs and Social Cohesion. This measure is co-financed with tax funds on the basis of the budget passed by the Saxon state parliament within the framework of the state programme Integrative Maßnahmen.