In addition to economic and environmental responsibility, social issues are playing an ever-greater role as the third pillar of sustainability.
The Freiburg Sustainability Goals deliberately incorporate this pillar, specifically targeting the following goals:
- Poverty prevention and relief
- Tolerant city
- Work-life balance
- Integrated district management
- Provisions for demographic change
Various actors in the city are pursuing these goals, which are detailed below:
Poverty prevention and relief
In line with Book 12 of Germany’s Social Code, the City of Freiburg ensures the subsistence of those entitled to benefits through the basic insurance for old age and reduced earning capacity, as well as for housing costs under Book 2 of the Social Code. The municipal employment program combats long-term unemployment and promotes social participation. Appropriate care structures targeting integration assistance are also being developed to meet the needs of those affected. One key aspect in the development of these structures is collaborating with people with disabilities, their relatives, caregivers, and service providers, as well as with Freiburg’s community psychiatric network and the Officer for the City of Freiburg for People with Disabilities. In addition, the City of Freiburg pays attention to accessibility when planning and conducting events. Every two years, it draws up an action plan for inclusion in order to gradually implement the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The municipal nonprofit organization Freiburger Qualifizierungs- und Beschäftigungsgesellschaft f.q.b. is committed to (re-)integrating long-term unemployed citizens in Freiburg into the labor market and offers preventive measures for young people at risk of unemployment, in addition to numerous other programs. Other agencies, such as the City of Freiburg’s Debt Counseling Office, also do their part in the fight against poverty by providing financially distressed people who are receiving transfer payments with support and advice. The Center for Homeless People (known as OASIS) offers personal counseling, information, social assistance, and job center services, and provides transitional housing opportunities.
Germany’s federal “Live Democracy!” program aims to promote civic engagement, democratic action, diversity, and tolerance in society. The objective is to create and sustainably maintain structures for a tolerant and equal urban society. This year’s call for proposals focused on the issues of anti-Semitism, anti-Gypsyism, and anti-Muslim racism, as well as all forms of racism against people of color.
Two additional focus areas relate to the social effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and are dedicated to the issue of conspiracy theories and to disadvantage and discrimination as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Freiburg is also on board, with the Monitoring Committee having selected 16 Freiburg projects to fund for 2021. In addition, the dedicated teenagers and young adults from the platform focused on youth projects known as JugendProjektePlattform (JUPP) have selected ten youth projects to be funded this year.
By responding to demand and expanding the number of high-quality spots available in child- and daycare facilities, it is possible to improve or facilitate the balance between work and family life. Good cooperation among agencies is necessary to ensure that childcare needs are taken into account at an early stage of site development and in the planning of individual projects. Through close collaboration with the independent providers of daycare facilities in Freiburg, it has been possible in the past to improve childcare options, even in light of a rising number of children. In addition, the city’s economic promotion office Freiburger Wirtschaftsförderung FWTM supports Freiburg-based companies in implementing measures that target work-life balance. The Freiburg city administration has already been certified as a family-friendly organization thanks to flexible working arrangements, family care leave, and parental leave for mothers and fathers, among other things.
Integrated district management
Through its municipal district management setup, the City of Freiburg contributes in important ways to sustainable, socially conscious, and inclusive district development. In the process, the municipal district management assumes a pivotal function between the municipality, district stakeholders, and residents. The establishment of district management on the local level facilitates networking among various stakeholders in the neighborhood, the pooling and effective use of resources, and residents’ participation in decision-making processes. In Freiburg, drop-in centers supported by the Municipal District Management Coordination Office have been set up in 13 different districts and neighborhoods.
Provisions for demographic change
Featuring a care support center, the Senior Citizens Office provides elderly people, people in need of help or care, relatives, and interested parties with information and advice on many issues related to aging, such as short-term care, at-home assistance, daycare and care groups, outpatient assisted-living communities, health and rehabilitation, and much more. The objective is to find tailored and sustainable solutions that take into account personal circumstances and family situations.
The Office for Migration and Integration supports refugees and foreigners in various areas, such as labor market integration. The municipal integration management service complements those social services for refugees which are already in place by advising and supporting refugees on an individual, low-threshold basis in all areas of life. Last, but not least, civic engagement plays a significant role in facilitating the integration process of migrants.
One of the Civic Engagement Coordination Office’s goals is to make a lasting contribution to integration by recruiting, placing, supporting, and advising volunteers.