Re-ordering municipal administration: New Public Management on the example of municipal real estate management in Frankfurt and Berlin

Project Management: Susanne Heeg & Marit Rosol
Application: Susanne Heeg & Josef Esser (†)
Realization: Felix Silomon-Pflug
Funding: DFG
Time: 2010-2013
Project description

The "modernization" of the municipal administrations must be seen as conflictual and contradictory process that is influenced by international models as well as local actors from politics, administration and business. We assume that the local adaptation can only be understood on account of the institutional arrangements and political regulations. The concepts of the so-called New Public Management (NPM) or the Neues Steuerungsmodell (NSM) we consider it as legitimizing power-knowledge for the restructuring of local government.

Within this framework, our research focuses on the question of how these transformations take place with focus on municipal real estate administration in the cities of Berlin and Frankfurt am Main in discourses, strategies and practices. In each case the following questions are central to the analysis:

  • Discourses: What new significances, conceptual systems, modes of organization are emerging? What models or "best practices" can be identified and to which (external) knowledge are they related? What patterns of problematization and legitimation can be recognized?
  • Strategies: Is there a cahnge from administrating municipal real estate property to managing it? What are the basic objectives and instruments that are formulated and implemented?
  • Practices: What are the consequences of changes regarding to everyday routines and practices of the employees in property management? How is NPM/NSM perceived by employees in property management? What avoidances, evasions, rationalizations and adaptations can be observed?
Using the analysis of administrative modernization on these three levels we want to trace how knowledge is transferred between places and what adaptations, conflicts, interactions and fractures emerge during this process. Moreover, the central question is what urban restructuring processes are observable. The project is part of the joint project "Re-Ordering the City in the Neoliberal Era" which is founded by the German Research Council (DFG).