Wege zur Metropole Ruhr

Information about the project

The Study "Wege zur Metropole Ruhr" by the Center for Interdisciplinary Regional Research (Zentrum für interdisziplinäre Regionalforschung (ZEFIR)) fills a gap in regional research in the Ruhr area with its research design. Conducted under the project leadership of Prof. Dr. Jörg-Peter Schräpler and funded by the Mercator Foundation, this study is the first to comprehensively examine, at a small-area level, the influence of economic and demographic structural changes in neighborhoods on the educational and participation opportunities of the residents.

The study reveals a pronounced correlation between the social environment of primary schools and the transition rate to grammar schools. If the primary schools are located in districts that have evolved from working-class neighborhoods to socially disadvantaged areas during the course of structural change, the participation opportunities for children are significantly lower compared to more affluent districts. Furthermore, the study reveals that German students have benefited much more from the educational expansion compared to students without German citizenship.

According to the study, the unique challenges faced by these disadvantaged neighborhoods necessitate spatially concentrated measures. Particularly, there should be a stronger emphasis on considering the social context when supporting schools. However, supporting schools by itself will not be enough to reduce the "educational gap" between the socially disadvantaged districts and the affluent neighborhoods. Efforts toward an equitable educational landscape must be coupled with a social policy that is oriented towards the social context to sustainably improve living conditions in disadvantaged neighborhoods.

Methodologically, the study takes a new approach by examining the structural transformation and the correlation between social context and educational opportunities from various perspectives. For the extensive quantitative analyses in this study, data from the censuses of 1961, 1970, 1987, and 2011, as well as official school data, were utilized. This aspect was further enriched through qualitative interviews with teachers and school principals, conducted by Prof. Dr. Bernhard Butzin (ZEFIR) and his team ("Bildung im Wandel").

Furthermore, Prof. Dr. Gert Wagner (Member of the Board of the German Institute for Economic Research, DIW Berlin) examined societal change from the perspective of the Ruhr region's population based on the representative longitudinal study SOEP. This part of the study is closely linked to a project supported by the Brost Foundation titled "Heimat im Wandel" ("Homeland in Change"), which vividly portrays the economic and social transformation of the Ruhr region through photographs of identical objects (1972 and today).

The dedicated exhibition which showcases not only the photographs but also key findings from other segments of the project, will take place from September 16 to December 3, 2017, at KUBUS in Haus Weitmar (Kubus/Haus Weitmar, Nevelstr. 29, Bochum, Germany).


2017-10-13_kurzfassung_wege_zur_metropole_ruhr.pdf (3 MB)

2017-12-08_wege_zur_metropole_ruhr_onlinehq.pdf (195 MB)

2017-12-08_wege_zur_metropole_ruhr_online.pdf (43 MB)