Journal of Housing and the Built Environment

, Volume 30, Issue 3, pp 471–486 | Cite as

Seeking Urbanity or Seeking Diversity? Middle-class family households in a mixed neighbourhood in Germany

  • Sabine Weck
  • Heike Hanhörster


Within the prominent debate on disaffiliation and coping strategies of middle-class households in mixed neighbourhoods, the paper aims to shed light on a less researched question: what are the characteristics of middle-class households that form inter-ethnic and inter-social networks in mixed communities in contrast to those that do not? Based on exploratory research in a German inner-city neighbourhood, we focus on differentiations within the middle class. We identify two most contrasting groups as regards social boundary crossing or social closure and analyse their different preferences, values and routines. Neighbourhood foci such as parent initiatives concerning childcare or schooling have a reinforcing role for either intra-group networks or boundary-crossing interactions. The findings are based on an analysis of narratives, daily routines and social networks of middle-class family households in a gentrifying neighbourhood.


Coping strategies Diversity Seekers Family households Inner-city areas Middle-class households Mixed community Urbanity Seekers 



The authors would like to thank Christine Bawrick for comments on an earlier version of this article. We also would like to thank two anonymous referees for helpful comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ILS – Research Institute for Regional and Urban Development gGmbHDortmundGermany

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