The city’s conflict managers are changing their strategy – Munich

“I don’t think there are any awareness teams of this kind in Germany yet,” says Aliena Corsepius. She is a conflict manager in Munich. The conflict managers from the All-Party Conflict Management (AKIM) have been out and about at party hotspots in Munich over the past few years. Their main task was to mediate in the event of trouble between partygoers and residents.

Since this year, Corsepius has been leading the pilot project “MucAware,” which starts this Friday and is part of Akim’s new strategy. This precedes a similar project that is still in the planning phase in Erfurt. In “MucAware,” small teams in the southern part of the English Garden and at the Gerner Bridge are to sensitize partygoers to discrimination and border crossings.

“Especially in the initial hours, when responsiveness is still guaranteed,” the teams should approach groups, seek dialogue and publicize the new project, explains Corsepius. Later on, the focus will be more on supporting those affected by discrimination and boundary violations.

The project is a further development of previous work, explains Akim director Brigitte Gans. In recent years, conflict managers from Akim have been present every weekend at the Gerner Bridge and at other locations in the city to ensure respectful interaction. “Young women have turned to them and said that they feel uncomfortable,” says Gans. This involved situations in which the women felt stared at by groups of young men. Akim then offers a safe space through the presence of the teams.

The pilot project is to start with four freelance workers. These come from different collectives and have a lot of experience in the awareness field, says Corsepius. They also come from similar social groups to the partygoers, says Brigitte Gans: “We were made aware that teams should be as diverse as possible themselves.” When designing and training the awareness teams, there is a dialogue with the collective that is responsible for mindfulness in public spaces in Vienna.

Setting new priorities: Aliena Corsepius (left) and Brigitte Gans. (Photo: Leonhard Simon)

Akim is also changing its strategy beyond the pilot project. Akim’s conflict managers are withdrawing from Gärtnerplatz and Wedekindplatz. Some of them have been present there on weekends since 2014 to mediate between partygoers and residents. “We have observed that public space is less visited than before the Corona years,” says Gans. With more festivals, events and outdoor drinking areas, fewer people are meeting at the squares. In addition, Akim has been able to achieve changes in recent years, for example with public toilets at the two squares, which are now having an effect.

This has made the previous way of working of the conflict managers less necessary. “We think that we can achieve more with creative methods than with being there every weekend,” says Gans. That is why the department is currently working on projects that are intended to help with specific issues, such as litter, illegal urination or loud noises. However, there are still so-called flex teams of conflict managers who can be sent to Gärtnerplatz, for example, if necessary.

Young people should be able to get involved positively in Messestadt Riem

In addition to awareness teams, flex workers and topic-specific projects, Akim also runs various activities in the city outside of the nightlife. For example, the “Non-Violence Strategy” in Messestadt Riem is now in its second year. Activities such as hood training, a combination of strength training and hip-hop culture, are intended to enable young people to get involved and attract positive public attention.

In recent years, the false impression has been created in the trade fair city that there is a particularly high level of youth violence there, says Gans. “The majority of young people are now looked at askance just because they are young people. This is a distortion that is not good for the district,” explains the Akim boss. She has also planned various actions in other parts of the city.

In addition to specific projects, Akim is always a contact for any kind of complaints between users of public space, says Brigitte Gans. Akim will therefore continue to respond to inquiries about conflicts.

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