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Migration and Spatial Development

spatial development

The high influx of refugees confronts Germany with a variety of tasks and problems. In addition to short-term challenges such as geographically allocating and accommodating refugees, longer-term tasks involving housing, regional and integration policy also need to be addressed. Notwithstanding heavy financial burdens, claims that capacity limits will be exceeded, and growing problems with acceptance, refugees are people with a right to protection and to an individual review of their wish to stay. Many of the refugees already in Germany will not be able to return to their home countries in the foreseeable future due to the precarious situation there, so integration strategies with at least a medium-term focus need to be developed. The extent to which it is currently appropriate for migration policy to also support long-term settlement strategies is a matter for separate discussion.

Recommended actions from a spatial planning perspective

The high influx of refugees has dominated both public and political discussions in recent months. In particular, promising strategies for integration policy at the local level are being sought. From a spatial planning perspective, the following can be seen as key strategic factors for a successful integration policy:

  • creating jobs and a self-sustaining economic base
  • providing required housing
  • overcoming social barriers by activating and fostering the potential of civil society and improving local governance with cross-sectional and decentralised management.

Against this backdrop, the following key actions are recommended:

Recommended key actions
Recommended key actions


Rolf-Dieter Postlep
Anne Ritzinger
Annette Spellerberg

Mentioned articles

This thematic collection is based on the follwing position paper: ARL – Academy for Territorial Development in the Leibniz Association (Ed.) (2021): Migration and spatial development. Hanover. = Positionspapier aus der ARL 124. URN: http://nbn-resolving.org/urn:nbn:de:0156-010588

Download the full paper here:

German version also available here:


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