Gentrification and Yuppification in Berlin

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That's actually a very good point. I never understand people who are resistant to moving to another city/country. It's one of the most exhilirating experiences in life, to learn new ways of living and not stuck in the same gear forever.

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Well, yes and no.

 

The house next to us was actually part of the sozialer Wohnungsbau until Berlin privatised that sector. Rents have now shot up from just about €4 to over €6 per square metre. This is a hard pill to swallow for those who haven't got much to begin with. Already a number of families have had to move and others have received a fristlose Kündigung 'cos they continue to pay the old rent and are wondering how this increase (more than 50%!) can possibly be justified. It is not as though the place is being done up.

 

Always two sides to the coin...

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The house next to us was actually part of the sozialer Wohnungsbau until Berlin privatised that sector. Rents have now shot up from just about €4 to over €6 per square metre.

 

Do you mean I can rent a 100m2 apartment for 600 EUR and it is in Tiergarten? Please let me know where it is, I will rent all of them.

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Do you mean I can rent a 100m2 apartment for 600 EUR and it is in Tiergarten? Please let me know where it is, I will rent all of them.

 

You're not having my flat! Anyway, I wouldn't pay that much ;) And Toby is right, the figures I mentioned are "cold cold" - most confusing in Berlin, wasn't so in Munich.

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The real issue with yuppies and hipsters isn't just that they move in, but that they don't put down roots. They (we) come, work and stay for a few years, as long as it is lucrative and inexpensive to do so, and then pack up for the next cool place. So prices get driven up and stick around, but the long-term increase in productivity and wealth doesn't. Essentially, in foreign yuppies contribute to long-run inflation but not long-run production. That's bad, and on some level people realize that and that's where the resentment comes in.

 

On the other hand, 50% rent increase, even if that's not per year, is still obscene. Even over a span of 10 years, in a city with high unemployment and low minimum wages, that's a lot to take in. The Senate could, with the flourish of a pen, impose limits on annual rent increases if they wanted. Not only would that reduce the spike effect of gentrification in a neighborhood, but it also strengthens the viability of building residences in new areas as an alternative (I read somewhere that housing used in Berlin is still below total capacity, but once that's no longer the case, if new developments aren't under construction, prices will rise even faster).

 

It's worth noting that if you do a google search related to housing in Berlin, you get advertisements for firms that will help foreigners invest in real estate here. That suggests "market speculation" to me, which is very very bad. But at heart, it's not the yuppies but the locally-grown capital/brokerage firms that are behind that problem.

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Anyone who thinks Berlin is a yuppie haven obviously hasn't been around much! Firstly not around Berlin much, because if they had been around Berlin much, they'd be stepping in dog shit so often that the thought of yuppification would be just a little nicer than the stinking yellow feces tracking around on their feet (you know that smell!). Secondly because Berlin is about the last place a real yuppie would ever be attracted to. Why would any self-respecting yuppy want to live in tatty old Berlin? The yuppy/hipster invasion of sexy Berlin. Yeah, just look at all those yachts on the Spree :lol:

 

 

On the other hand, 50% rent increase, even if that's not per year, is still obscene. Even over a span of 10 years, in a city with high unemployment and low minimum wages, that's a lot to take in.

Why is it obscene? It's called the market. Wake up: it's the capital city in the economic powerhouse of the continent of Europe. Maybe if you want to stay bad enough you can buy yourself a piece of it. How? Maybe you figure out a way to increase the circulation of money into your account and certain other peoples' accounts. It's not unemployed poor people who are buying up the property. Some people who spend money on houses actually need certain things called goods and services, you know, like real, non-Ikea-Toytown-classified-advert furniture, real pictures to hang on their freshly-painted walls, and bespoke web sites for their businesses just to name a few. Seeing as they can apparently afford those "high" rents they might just know what they're doing when it comes to business, and they might make fantastic customers for people like me who do all sorts of creative work in exchange for (gasp!) filthy, dirty lucre. I don't care, I'll make their cocktails! And guess what, I stay! And if I work hard enough, maybe I can even afford a couple of dogs, but I promise you they won't be pooping on the street, and nor will I ever be some yuppie just because I'm payin' the cost to live in the city.

 

 

The Senate could, with the flourish of a pen, impose limits on annual rent increases if they wanted.

 

But that's not happening. Why is that?

 

 

It's worth noting that if you do a google search related to housing in Berlin, you get advertisements for firms that will help foreigners invest in real estate here. That suggests "market speculation" to me, which is very very bad.

Oh come on.

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Hmmm... with current thread titles like "the easiest way of enroll as a student in berlin" and "moving to berlin without a job" I shouldn't think there's actually much danger of gentrification happening because of the expats at any rate?

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I was told that the new(ish) waterside developments in Amsterdam near the passenger-ship terminal and the junction with the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal were planned as a mixture of commercial and social housing so they didn't become a yuppie ghetto. Sounds sensible to me.

 

I saw the housing bubble in the UK...prices rising and rising...rents going up, too, and no security for tenants with the "shorthold" arrangements...people no longer being able to get their feet on the first rung of the housing ladder.

 

Question - should "the market" serve the needs of people, or should people be subservient to the market?

 

There are political alternatives to neo-liberalism.

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planned as a mixture of commercial and social housing so they didn't become a yuppie ghetto.

However, "social housing" is a very wide-ranging term here. To me it really just means pretty much "any block not built by a private developer" and is usually something that I (from the UK) would think of as like a housing association. Still charges market rates (10 Eur / sq m cold is the going rate round my way for the sought-after new builds). A lot of German professionals I know live in what would in the UK be called "social housing".

 

Social housing can easily be yuppified in the right place. In London, I know doctors living in council places in places like Kensington (dead easy if single, tons of "hard to lets" ie. "not big enough for kids") because that address was better than private renting in a less sought-after place. And black markets tends to form as a result - people who the rules exclude still wanting in / not wanting to leave or give up tenancy etc.

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Question - should "the market" serve the needs of people, or should people be subservient to the market? There are political alternatives to neo-liberalism.

 

Couldn't agree more. Many portray gentrification as a foregone conclusion in our cities. Wrong: it is political will, or at the very least, the result of complacency. It would be a crying shame if Berlin lost it's unique and affordable bohemian charm and became just another generic city, because "market forces" were encouraged and given free reign.

 

There's still time, people. Burning cars isn't the answer, but political pressure might be.

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As a yuppie who has bought property in a rapidly gentrificated part of Hamburg, i'm really getting a kick out of all these replies.

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Question - should "the market" serve the needs of people, or should people be subservient to the market?

 

It goes both ways. The market is neutral, like a river.

 

The people who got swept out didn't seize the opportunity when they had it. A lot of people -- perhaps a DDR hangover -- think that just because they live in a kietz, that it somehow belongs to them. Sorry. On the other hand, some house projects have managed to buy the buildings they've occupied. They carry on exactly as before, but also in concert with the same system that everyone else is playing along with. This is admirable.

 

 

Couldn't agree more. Many portray gentrification as a foregone conclusion in our cities. Wrong: it is political will, or at the very least, the result of complacency. It would be a crying shame if Berlin lost it's unique and affordable bohemian charm and became just another generic city, because "market forces" were encouraged and given free reign.

 

There are/were tons of quirky little storefronts that have nothing even resembling a business plan, no real action... They're the ones that get pushed out. Is this gentrification? Is it a bad thing? Should they be subsidized? Will they be missed? I don't know the answers, but who are these people to think they can just cruise on in low gear while other more ambitious, hungry, aggressive and competitive people want to take their space from them and are willing to sweat 10X as hard to keep it?

 

Is it wrong to say that the latter are preferred? I prefer to participate in a community with people and businesses who are tuned in and doing something. You know, when one makes commerce, one is inadvertently doing the other guy a favor. If I prepare and sell Joe a sandwich, I'm not doing it because I care about assuaging the debilitating effects of Joe's nagging appetite. I'm doing it because I'm trying to make the best sandwich, and to expand my means to make even more and/or better sandwiches.

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Why is it obscene? It's called the market.

Yes, it's called the market. And if it were for the price of a new car, a pair of shoes or a trip to Spain I wouldn't care.

 

But when it concerns housing or food, then that's a different matter.

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