Neukölln meets Prenzlberg

"As a house I would recommend resistance to you!"
@ Neukölln in South Berlin
Thanks to a friend I noticed the above quote which is an ironic interpretation of an advertisement of a well-known German furnishing department store.

"increase in rent - modernization ...
what to do:
1. sign nothing
2. talk to your neighbours
3. go to a consulting service for tenants"

Both signposts relate to a very actual discussion of prices for rent and housing going on in Berlin,
which, basically, focusses on two developments that gained importance in the past ten years:
(1) The problem of gentrification; in which case areas popular with young people such as Prenzlauer Berg ten years ago, Friedrichshain five years ago and Neukölln nowadays are affected - hence the pics above. This debate is, in fact, related to a strengthening of the boundary between North and South (at least as far as Berlin is concerned) - for, as I am very sorry to say, there is that highly artificial discussion in some local forums as to whether or not this trend correlates with the number of Swabian people living in the city (a ridiculous argument - there are endless debates on the subject and an interesting blog on gentrification processes in the city).
(2) The problem of a misappropriation of housing space; in which case both private owners and, to a more serious effect, bigger agencies, rent their properties to tourists instead of inhabitants, which raises rents in general and mostly concerns areas popular with tourists such as Friedrichshain, Mitte and Charlottenburg (last summer there was a bigger programme on Deutschland radio (in German) covering this discussion).

It is interesting and to a certain degree frightening to observe the shifts and movements that such developments bring about. They raise questions 

as to which area will gain in popularity next (some people say it is Wedding in the North of Berlin where rents are still cheap - this lucky guess, however, already persists for quite some years and so far there is not that much of a change going on) 
where all those people who cannot afford to pay their raising rents anymore will be forced to live in future Berlin (sometimes I ask myself whether one day that social boundary between the rich and the poor in the city will be marked by the Berlin circle line)
and not least
what it is like in other big cities in the world?

No comments:

Post a Comment