„Am Treff“ in Halle-Neustadt: ethnographische Einblicke in die dynamische Entwicklung einer ostdeutschen Großwohnsiedlung
The article presents the findings of ethnographic research at a central place within Halle-Neustadt. Halle-Neustadt consists mainly of large concrete blocks of housing estates built during GDR times. Meanwhile, Neustadt is reunited with the old city of Halle (Saale). Neustadt counts as a marginalized and stigmatized place. This is both true in relation to the most recent segregation trends as well as the mainly negative stereotypes transported by the general media. In this paper, we seek to employ the perspective on lifeworlds, everyday life and encounters in public places to offer a more nuanced understanding in contrast to the stigmatizing public discourse. Participant observation and interviewing of passers-by as
well as shopkeepers at the place “Am Treff” revealed four themes that are relevant when assessing the current dynamics of the social and urban fabric of Halle-Neustadt.
(1) The diversity of the place and its people needs to be acknowledged –there are many young families, often migrants, moving into Neustadt.
(2) Many encounters take place in public and semi-public spaces. Who talks to whom and for how longdepends on gender as well as age and ethnicity.
(3) People are well aware of the social and ethnic differences within Halle-Neustadt and conflicts revolve around the fault line that divides older from younger people or young families (although the ethnicity is often foregrounded as the main difference).
(4) Social change is happening fast in Halle-Neustadt. On the whole, the place is transitioning rapidly from overwhelmingly white working class, now retired residents to young families and migrants. This is also reflected by the types of businesses present at the place of our research, e.g. the “Orienta” supermarket and the newly opened “oriental restaurant”. We infer from our findings that the residents of Halle-Neustadt, old and new, need to be empowered and more generally involved in creating the future of their part of the city.