The Heygate estate, Elephant and Castle. Only 79 of 2,500 new homes on the site will be available as social housing. Photograph: Martin Godwin for the Guardian
“For cynical residents this approach is a continuation of the previous government’s discredited Pathfinder programme, which aimed to increase land and property prices by demolishing existing homes in well-located areas in northern towns to build new properties that could be marketed to a wider social mix of people at higher prices. That policy, which saw thousands evicted from their homes and was widely regarded as a failure, led to widespread accusations of “social cleansing”. Now we are seeing the same in London.”
read the whole article by Anna Minton on The Guardian The ‘reconfiguration’ of London is akin to social cleansing | Anna Minton | Comment is free | The Guardian.
A shocking report by Der Spiegel on the coercive practices of large developers in the Berlin exploding rental market:
“International financial investors have spent billions to gobble up cheap real estate in Berlin. But a look at Scharnweberstrasse 111 shows how they and their ruthless middlemen are exploiting immigrants from Southeastern Europe to make profits.”
Read the whole story here: http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/investors-and-middlemen-exploit-helpless-in-berlin-real-estate-market-a-887039.html
“Where people live, work, and play has an impact on their health. Several factors create disparities in a community’s health. Examples include socioeconomic status, land use/the built environment, race/ethnicity, and environmental injustice. In addition, displacement has many health implications that contribute to disparities among special populations, including the poor, women, children, the elderly, and members of racial/ethnic minority groups.
These special populations are at increased risk for the negative consequences of gentrification. Studies indicate that vulnerable populations typically have shorter life expectancy; higher cancer rates; more birth defects; greater infant mortality; and higher incidence of asthma, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. In addition, increasing evidence shows that these populations have an unequal share of residential exposure to hazardous substances such as lead paint.”
Read the whole story at CDC – Healthy Places – Health Effects of Gentrification.
Film still from Kelly Anderson’s “My Brooklyn” (image via mybrooklyn.com)
“The process of gentrifying Brooklyn is not necessarily making Brooklyn a better place to live,” says MIT professor Craig Wilder at one point during the movie. Later he adds, “The process of gentrification in New York is not about people moving into a neighborhood and other people moving out of a neighborhood. The process of gentrification is about corporations sectioning off large chunks of those neighborhoods and then planning out their long-term development.”
read the whole story on Hyperallergic: The Real Story Behind the Gentrification of Brooklyn.
Jonas Rest/Berliner Zeitung/dpa (c) dpa – Bildfunk
by Ares Kalandides
A funny story – and photo – hit the news some days ago: Käthe Kollwitz’s statue in Berlin covered with “Spätzle” – a particular type of noodles, a local speciality from the Swabia area in Germany. There was something very heartbreaking about poor soiled Käthe, the sculptress who gave her name to the small park in Prenzlauer Berg, as she sat there patiently bearing her lost dignity. But there was something much more threatening in the whole story that needs explanation.
With his intolerant comments about Swabian newcomers, long-time Berlin resident and former Bundestag President Wolfgang Thierse has taken the debate about gentrification in the German capital to a new low, argues Christian Bangel of ZEIT ONLINE.
read the whole story here: Thierse laments Swabian invasion of Berlin
and the commentary here: Thierse ‘drags Berlin debate to a new low’ – The Local.
by Darius Rafieyan*
“Suddenly, they were all here. All these students, artists, layabouts. The complete mob called creative class[…] and suddenly all was changing. The rents were no longer cheap, the drug dealers left the Reuterplatz, whorehouses closed, instead we got open-minded and open-gendered[sic] galleries, junk dealer became to dealer in antiques, and dirty dog shit was turned into peaceful baby buggies. More general this phenomenon is called gentrification”1.
These words are taken from the so-called “video manifesto” of one Mathias Merkle, a disgruntled Neukölln bar owner who blames the recent influx of students and ex-pats for the rapid changes occurring in his beloved borough. This point of view is not an uncommon one in Berlin. Merkle’s 10 minute, broken-English rant went viral in Germany last year and he has become something of a self styled anti-hero for the hipster-averse Berlin purists who want to stem the tide of young, affluent creatives who are supposedly ruining the ‘old Berlin’, whatever that is. Continue reading
by Ares Kalandides
On Saturday 10th November 2012, several Berlin groups of the German Green party organized a one-day conference to talk about tourism and its consequences for Berlin. The context is important: in 2011, before the Berlin elections, there had been several very controversial public discussions on tourism, which were covered by the media (1)(2)(3) and led to a substantial polarization of the discussion. I did not manage to stay for the whole conference, but I was on the initial panel and would like to repeat here what I said: Continue reading
A while back we published a very popular blog post on High Line New York, which has been on the top of the daily clicks every since. Now, here is another article from the New York Times, which tells quite a different story. Absolutely worth reading for anybody interested in the gentrification debate.
JEREMIAH MOSS writes: “Today it’s difficult to remember that initial feeling. The High Line has become a tourist-clogged catwalk and a catalyst for some of the most rapid gentrification in the city’s history.”
Read the whole article here: In the Shadows of the High Line – NYTimes.com.