Tag: Gentrification

Cheap cities have their downsides. Aside from being, quite frequently, depressed, they’re gated communities in training. For every vintage building full of broke punks, there’s a real estate developer looking to transform it into over-priced live-work condos. It just takes the malcontents to scout them out, and make them livable again. Bohemians are, as it always turns out, the shock troops of the wealthy. (More…)

For radicals, it can be exciting. Graffiti denouncing god scrawled on churches. Manifestos posted to to nearly every utility box. Streets and squares named after left-wing icons, like Karl Marx, and Walter Benjamin, in nearly every district, in the western half of the city, as well as the the predictable east. (More…)

‘Gentrification’ is a relatively new word to the left. Increasingly invoked to describe the transformation of inner city neighborhoods in Europe and the United States by wealth, the term has become especially pejorative of late, given the persistence of the economic crisis. How could cities, once abandoned by the affluent for the suburbs, all of the sudden be booming again? (More…)

For over a decade, artists and intellectuals have been touting Berlin as an alternative to overpriced and overpopulated metropolises like London, Paris, New York and Tokyo. And even now, despite a rising tide of gentrification, the city’s rougher neighborhoods remain a bargain for people with a bourgeois support network. The problem, though, is that long-time natives of these neighborhoods typically lack one. (More…)

The criticisms were familiar. If you didn’t know the article was published in Der Spiegel, you’d have thought it was The Economist. All the same themes were present: Italy is approaching failed state status. Government policies are mired in the past. Businesses are eschewing manufacturing for services. Corruption is rampant.  Mario Monti is the country’s only hope. (More…)

It’s really easy to overlook a bandit sign. Just a few words of text and a telephone number, pasted to telephone poles in poor neighborhoods, advertising a roofing company, or the number of someone who’ll pay cash for your home or car, they prey on the needy.  Bandit signs are also an eyesore, creating more trash in already heavily polluted parts of American cities. And they’re illegal.  (More…)

At first glance, the flyer might have struck the jaded flâneur as parody. Instead of the crusty punks and hippies that usually festoon images of protest in Berlin, a bunch of white-hairs hold a large banner with the classic squatter’s slogan “This house is occupied.” (More…)

Whenever European cities decide to renew themselves, they tend to look to American models: Austin, Texas; Portland, Oregon. Even San Francisco, despite the fact that the California city has long since stopped being an alternative urban area, in the same way more affordable towns like Portland remain. (More…)

Wherever walls, fences and windows are plastered with flyers, we know that the pace of daily life slows down there. Maybe it’s a corner where people wait for a bus or train. Maybe it’s a meeting ground, where the impulse to linger overrides the call of the next errand. Maybe it’s simply the sort of empty surface that demands to be acknowledged by those who pass by on foot. (More…)

During the Cold War, Berlin’s divided status made it possible for the already expansive city to become a haven for ways of living that more conventional cities made difficult. In the wake of the counterculture, this isolated, divided metropolis became a proving ground for turning theory into practice. (More…)

To our neighbors: Squat in the Weise Steet on the 28th of April. How come, anyway?

At the end of April in our Kiez, a squat was begun at a house, 47 Weise Street, that had stood almost completely empty for years. We would like to explain to you why in this short statement. (More…)

On June 12th 2010 we want to hit the streets with you to call for a different way of organizing the city, one with more self-determination, and for a different society as well. And we don’t want to stay stuck on demands for affordable rents, a “social” city politics or other State-sponsored measures, but rather wish to demonstrate for our vision of a beautiful life (More…)