The municipal or local level is where our everyday life takes place and where coexistence works – or doesn’t. Associations and civil societal self-organisation find their place in municipalities. These have gained (or regained) increasing significance with regards to the active promotion of civic engagement.

In a wider sense, a municipality is simply a defined geographic space in which various interpersonal relations are concentrated into a social entity. In contrast to the German states and federal state, a municipality can be seen as the smallest political and administrative unit.

zze considers the trend towards the municipal level not so much as the return to past concepts, but rather as a social science-based and socio-politically justified attempt to shape local living environment. In addition to the “service municipality”, which sees the citizen as a customer who wants to be served, and which therefore wants its administrative processes to be primarily efficient, the “citizen’s municipality” (Bürgerkommune) has grown to be an important concept.
In view of the various challenges that cities, communities, and districts are faced with, they often strive for new ways of involvement of their citizens as co-producers of public welfare. The citizen’s municipality is characterized by manifold civic engagement in terms of participation and co-decision. Hereby networks are created between the state (mayors, councils, administration), the third sector (associations, unions, initiatives), the economy (companies), and volunteers. These networks promote local democratic participation processes and help to increase public welfare.
For zze, municipalities are relevant partners in several fields. Besides being initiators for future workshops, inspections, and marketplace methods, they are also the target of programs coordinated by the zze – for example the federal programs "Aktiv im Alter" (Active ageing) and "Freiwilligendienste aller Generationen" (Voluntary service for all generations).

Examples of our services and activities

  • Evaluation of the programme "Aktiv im Alter" (Active ageing)
  • Research project "Quality Ageing in an Urban Environment" (Q-Ageing)
  • Realization of future workshops about municipal development in Merdingen and Schwäbisch Gmünd


  • Klie, Thomas/ Mc Govern, Karsten (2010): Planung, Steuerung und Finanzierung kommunaler Politik für das Leben im Alter. In: Bischof, Christine/ Weigl, Barbara (Hg.). Handbuch innovative Kommunalpolitik für ältere Menschen, Berlin, p. 37-55.
  • Marzluff, Silke/ Klie, Thomas (2010): Ältere Menschen in Kommunen - Förderung von Beteiligung und Engagement durch das Programm Aktiv im Alter. In: informationsdienst altersfragen, Heft 02/2010, p. 19-23.
  • Klie, Thomas/ Krank, Susanne (2009): Bürger für Bürger - Bürgerschaftliches Engagement und die kommunale Altensozialpolitik. In: Bertelsmann Stiftung (Hg.). Initiieren - Planen - Umsetzen. Handbuch kommunale Altenpolitik. Gütersloh, p. 247-256.


Facebook   Twitter



> 02.12.20 | Auftakt der Corona-Foren Baden-Württemberg | zze unterstützt nexus Berlin bei der Umsetzung des Projektvorhabens

> 27.10.20 | Thomas Klie nimmt an Mini-Roadshow des BWGV teil

> Die Ergebnisse der Evaluation des Förderprogrammes 'Engagiert in Baden-Württemberg' des Ministeriums für Soziales und Integration finden Sie hier

Veröffentlichung 'Demokratische Integration in Deutschland'

Veröffentlichung 'Demokratische Integration und Strukturbedingungen von Regionen'



Argumentationshilfe zur Förderung
Mitgestaltung und Mitentscheidung
älterer Menschen in KommunenArgumentationshilfe zur Förderung von  Mitgestaltung und Mitentscheidung  älterer Menschen in Kommunen

Zentrum für zivilgesellschaftliche Entwicklung

Unterwerkstraße 5
D-79115 Freiburg
Tel: +49 (0)761 47812-140
Fax: +49 (0)761 47812-699


zze Berlin

Ritterstraße 2a
D-10969 Berlin
Tel: +49 (0)30 296802-47
Fax: +49 (0)30 296802-46


Träger: FIVE e.V.


FIVE - Spitzenforschung im  sozialen Bereich