Archive for the ‘Gentrification’ Category

Gentrification knows no mercy. Not even for the C/O Berlin photo gallery, an institution of sorts in the Berlin art scene. I had the chance to visit an Annie Leibovitz exhibit last year, and I remember paying no more than 6 Euros to see her commercial and more intimate work. I think it was a bargain.

The news from Der Spiegel took me aback. They need to pack their bags by March 2011. Their next home is still unkown. At the very least, I hope they find one that is appropriate and just as beautiful in Berlin.

Photo via C/O Berlin.

Yuppies... bugger off!

I was in Berlin from Sunday to meet my grand uncle and grand aunt yesterday whom I haven’t seen in almost two decades. One of the ports of call of their Baltic Sea cruise was in Rostock and we decided a rendezvous in Berlin. For my overnight stay, I stayed at an acquaintance’s place in Charlottenburg, one of the ritzy boroughs of the city. No, I did not stay at Kempinski Hotel; I don’t want to be accosted of living on a champagne lifestyle with a beer budget in Germany.

Neukölln in Berlin is one of the quarters that is, according to this brewing discussion at Toytown Germany, succumbing to undergoing gentrification. The other borough of Prenzlauer Berg north of the city has undergone this phenomenon. Lacking any knowledge of any ‘fun’ things to do there, I personally have never been to the area during my sporadic visits to the city.

Neukölln is a gritty area mostly populated by Turkish immigrants. While imagining artist and yuppy types slowly trickle in, it led me to think whether in general, ethnicity is related to gentrification, i.e., has there been a case when non-Caucasians gentrified a largely Caucasian quarters. And I am distinguishing it from ‘white flight‘. Or is it always the case that income distribution is skewed favoring Caucasians, who consequently have the purchasing power to move into a ‘hood transforming into a hipper one, inadvertently driving out non-Caucasians who find it hard to cope with rising rent?

via Chris Abraham

photo via

Atmosphere industries is not making light of the gentrification issue when they made a game out of this urban phenomenon. Gentrification: The Game! follows a monopoly type of rules but played in a real neighborhood.

I have a few hang-ups with what determines the winner though, which is the amount of money that a team possesses by the end of the game. In reality, it is not all about economic gains for the locals that matters. A sense of place and community may still rank high up people’s (non-financial) needs. For sure a few thought and twist of the rules can accommodate this deficiency.

Here’s a short clip of the game while in play.

The game remains just that, a game. Yet it has a good potential for initiating dialogue and understanding of the issue. I’d like to real locals and developers playing out their own role in the game- and vice versa.