Kiel is not only the state capital of Schleswig-Holstein, but also a student city. Being home to five universities and universities of applied sciences. Due to that fact, roughly 15% of the city´s population consists of students between the age of 18 and 25 years. Therefore, they have a great impact on the cityscape and everything surrounding it. But what exactly does move and interest Kiel´s young generation? 

Do you like your borough?

In order to get a better insight into these young people´s minds an anonymous survey was conducted. The findings should highlight what young people think of Kiel and its politics. The participants are between 18 and 25 years old. They made subjective statements regarding the topics of satisfaction with their respective district, with Kiel’s local politics and what and where exactly they see problems.
Firstly, it can be deduced that almost all of the participants are happy and content with the liveability in their respective districts. The participant who stated to not particularly like their district Schreventeich, declared to feel “unsafe”.
However, 22 out of 23 like their neighbourhood and living in their districts. One of the main reasons according to the survey, might be Kiel´s green spaces, such as the “Schrevenpark” and “Schützenpark”. Those stood out as particularly positive, but also other, smaller grassy areas were mentioned. People appreciate being able to go on walks or relax in the sun, which is rather an activity reserved for the warmer and sunnier time of the year.

Some young people enjoying the warm weather of a warm summer evening at Kiellinie
Young people enjoying the warm summer weather at Kiellinie (Photo: Antonia Krüger)

The problems you see in Kiel

Another aspect mentioned was the mobility and public transportation system. Regarding this aspect, Kiel´s young people express varied opinions. Those people living in boroughs farther away from the city centre complained about poor bus connections. This problem occurs especially in the later hours of the day. However, most of the young people tend to move closer to the city centre, instead of moving or staying in the suburban boroughs. Those living in boroughs closer to the centre, seem to be provided with excellent public transport opportunities. Overall, the residents living in latter mentioned boroughs, even praise the bus connections and the city´s mobility.
When asked about what they might dislike about their respective boroughs, one aspect stood out, because the participants mentioned it, regardless in which borough they are currently living in: The issue of constructions sites appears to be a pressing problem to all. “Those fucking construction sites”, as one participant put it, were more often mentioned than not. They appear to deteriorate the cityscape, forcing routes to close and residents to suffer from loud noises.
Another community issue seems to be lack of parking spaces. Sometimes this may even be connected to the appearance of construction sites. As one participant explained about being unable to use their paid for parking space due to a construction site. This problem seems to be evident especially during those times when there is the recurring funfair on Wilhelmplatz, blocking the valuable parking space for roughly two weeks.

Free parking space in Kiel is rare: Wilhelmplatz Kiel
Wilhelmplatz Kiel (Photo: Antonia Krüger)

Furthermore, the appearance of drug addicts and homeless people, “begging for money at the Rewe parking lot” has Kieler residents concerned, wishing for local politics to step in to built and arrange new and more places for those in need.

Your overall opinion on Kiel

The prevailing opinion seems to be that Kiel is a “beautiful city”. A place where its young residents can feel comfortable and enjoy their life. Especially its green spaces and its proximity to the sea enthuse its young residents. However, as many cities do, Kiel and its politicians have some issues to tackle.
Many young people are already executing their right to vote. Therefore they seize the opportunity to help shape their city and community. And is it not all about making a difference in the city we all love?