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 Renard Teipelke
An amazing landscape, wild animals, beautiful sunsets, white beaches, traditional tribe villages, mountains and valleys…one could easily continue the list of things for which Kenya is famous for. This country in East Africa is one of the prime tourist destinations in Africa and equally depends on the revenues from this large economic sector (678 mio. Euro revenue earnings in 2010). The country is well branded internationally and has established very clear pictures as images of Kenya in many people’s minds (see another article on this blog here). 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
Watergate club in Kreuzberg
Have you ever been part of an expat community? I’m talking about those highly mobile groups who leave the comfort of their homeland for the latest fashionable place. They are very different from refugees or immigrants who are forced to leave for political reasons, even though expats love to play with notions of exile. A very luxurious exile indeed. Berlin seems to be the latest cry for expats and has been so for a while. For the untrained eye, the clubs and bars in the districts of Kreuzberg or Neukölln are full of tourists. But the people around you who speak English, Spanish, Swedish or French live in Berlin. At least for a limited period of time or repeatedly – again and again. Continue reading
A view of the village entrance in Archanes
by Ares Kalandides
Dimitirs Mavrakis leaves his kitchen just for a couple of minutes, his face lined with flour, to say a warm hello and talk about the crisis. “What do the Germans say about us?” is the first thing he asks. Together with his wife Maria they have run the restaurant Kritamon on Crete for the past 5 years and they depend on tourists to survive. “We have our regular guests, but generally locals don’t come very often”, explains Dimitris. “We offer home-made food, a contemporary version of what our mothers and grandmothers used to cook. When people here go out they need something special, not the kind of food they traditionally make at home”. Yet Kritamon is probably one of the best restaurants in Crete, located in the small town of Archanes, about fifteen minutes from the island’s capital, Iraklion, in the midst of a large vineyard valley. Continue reading
By Renard Teipelke
Traveling the world as an adventure (or a luxury) undertaken by young adults has become a well-known part of life of today’s younger generations. Multiple blogs are filled with online diaries, pictures, videos, links, and other pieces of information that are shared with friends and the world wide web for various reasons. Rick Mereki, Tim White, und Andrew Lees have been on a six-week travel around the world and made three short movies with impressions from the eleven countries they visited. Each movie has been framed by a specific theme, and they all highlight (indirectly) many aspects of traveling the world and understanding its heterogeneity and complexity – both, as I would say, with regard to leisure activities as well as research. Continue reading
Homepage Borger-Odoorn with Cittaslow logo
by Hans Pul
In his recent post, Ares introduced the Cittaslow initiative in general, as well as Cittaslow Trani, Italy. Here I will elaborate on Cittaslow in the Netherlands. Currently, there are 4 Cittaslows in the country: Midden-Delfland, Borger-Odoorn, Alphen-Chaam and Vaals. Similar to Reinard’s observation about Cittaslows in Germany, Dutch Cittaslows are small towns and rural municipalities rather than cities. To get a bit of an impression: Midden-Delfland is a rural municipality located in the middle of the Metropolitan Region Rotterdam The Hague, while Alphen-Chaam is a small rural municipality near the Belgium border. Both other municipalities are well-known tourist destinations within the Netherlands: Vaals is known for the highest “mountain” in the Netherlands with its respectable 323 metres of height, which is also the tripoint with Belgium and Germany. Borger-Odoorn is known for its “Hunebedden”, megalithical structures from 3000-4000BC.
“From my lofty vantage point, the panoramic view over the Ruhr Valley to Duisburg and beyond is breathtaking. Derelict factories – rusting, soot-stained hulks – pepper the surprisingly verdant landscape. Chimneys rise like cathedrals; proud relics of the region’s industrial powerhouse past… “
Read the full article by David Sharp in the Local: Ruhr ruins invite tourists for highwire hijinks – The Local.
by Kenneth Wardrop
Recent Harvard Business Review research in to consumer loyalty to brands identified two key research findings: firstly that delighting customers does not build loyalty, however reducing the consumers effort, the work they must do to get their problem solved, does. Secondly, companies acting deliberately on this insight can help improve customer service costs, and decrease customer churn (Stop Trying to Delight Your Customers Matthew Dixon, Karen Freeman, and Nicholas Toman, Harvard Business Review July 2010). The Customer Effort Score (CES) is a measure of the ‘willing’ effort of consumers in purchasing goods or services.