Centrally located along the Bernauer Strasse, the NM
-area Ackerstrasse adjoins the memorial landscape around the Berlin Wall Memorial in the south, the "Park am Nordbahnhof" that opened in 2009 in the west and the Humboldthain in the north. Next to the NM-area Brunnenstraße
, it is part of the "Brunnenviertel" alongside Brunnenstrasse.
On account of its situation right at the border to former East-Berlin, the borough is relatively self-contained with still few crossings to the adjoining areas. Due to the area rehabilitation works carried out in the 1970's, only a small proportion of Wilhelminian style buildings has remained. The area is dominated by five to sixstorey buildings in largely good condition, often with greened balconies and courtyard gardens.
Due to the predominantly social housing structures in the area, there are only very few shops. Roughly one quarter in the northeast of the area is occupied by numerous small and larger companies. Owing to its central position, the neighborhood is well connected to the public transport system. But even though the area is is generally appealing to families and older people, fluctuation remains very high with many newcomers from socially and educationally disadvantaged population groups.
The average unemployment rate exceeds 20%, whereas young people having a migration background are most affected. The different times and ways of using the outdoor facilities as practised by the different groups constitute fertile soil for conflicts and mutual prejudice are among the reasons indicated for leaving the area.
Due to the fact that the two state schools and some of the daycare centers have a share of children with non-German origin of up to 70-90%, many parents who are concerned about education issues start thinking about moving at the time of their children's enrolment. Focus areas and goals of the NMwork are discussed and consulted with the local Neighborhood Council on an annual basis, whereby much weight is put on education and social co-existence - next to the focus areas of youth recreation, business and living enviroment. In the period from the demarcation of the area in 2005 until end 2008 approximately Euro 1,300,000 has been disbursed in funding, primarily for improvements in the areas of education, employment and integration.
Selection of projects carried out to date
The establishment of a broad range of educational opportunities that include children from educationally disadvantaged families and enables them to pursue a successful educational career is a long-term goal. Many students have been disadvantaged due to their language deficits from the first day they attended school, and the young people start to develop a feeling of a lack of prospects and poor selfconfidence when thinking about school or work at a very young age. High school graduates hardly ever have the prospect of a trainee job.
Examples for improvement measurements to enhance the situation are the early language support in daycare centers, the in-school career orientation project "Schule aktiv - Durchstarten im Brunnenviertel" that includes a catering sector training, and the role model campaign"Schooltalks.de" at the high school Ernst-Reuter-Oberschule.
Important topics also include the profile development in the fields of art and natural sciences at the primary school Gustav-Falke-Grundschule and the support of institutions that promote parental work. Strengthening networking efforts among daycare centers and schools (Kitaverbund, Bildungsverbund) and other partners are essential modules of the program. A milestone in the efforts to strengthen social relationships within the neighborhood, combat prejudice and encourage participation of residents was achieved with the establishment of the neighborhood meeting point "Volt-Cültüre" in mid 2007. As a place for joint activities and and socializing for everyone, the meeting point offers a great variety of activities including homework support, sewing courses and resident-to-resident counseling.
Under the project "Brunnenkiezmütter" (Brunnenkiez mothers), multipliers are trained on various topics such as health, child education, language, information literacy etc., who pass on what they have learned to other mothers in the area after the training.
The "Holiday Program" and the street soccer project "Bolzacker" complement existing recreational facilities for young people. The "Gartenplatz", largely unused at the moment, is planned to be re-developed into an attractive green area. The participation process for this project, as well as for the renovation of the outdoor sports facilities of the Gustav-Falke-School is ongoing.
The local business sector is expected to benefit from the newly introduced "Brunnen Card", which is meant to make the range of the shops in the Brunnenstrasse more appealing for the employees of the numerous companie through special offers etc. and attract more attention for the local businesses in general.