Pretty cool: an iPad app fully dedicated to the history and here-and-now of Berlin as electronic party paradise. Explore food joints with Modeselektor, urban architecture with Ben de Biel, day parties with Kotelett and Zadak, as well as hidden pieces of street art, the process of gentrification and hardware shopping.
Makes me want to go back to Berlin really bad…
Damn, it pains me to hear this. The counterculture is, of course, what made Berlin what it is: a cultural free haven full of creativity. It has been like that since before the fall of the Wall, and has continued to be so in the twenty-first century.
But the forces of gentrification and corporatization are on the march. Let’s turn Berlin into every other European city; let’s make it a sort of Paris. A neat, clean, tourist-friendly city, full of shopping malls. No more squatting, no more turning post-industrial areas into something cool and original, no more ventures into the underground.
Bar25‘s closed to make room for ’urban development’; now one the last communal housing projects, Liebig 14, that has been there since 1990. Sigh.
Around 2,500 police officers were deployed in Berlin today to evict inhabitants of one of the capital city’s last former squats.
The 25 residents of the Liebig 14 tenement block have refused to leave after losing a lengthy legal battle which has become a touchstone for the city’s anti-gentrification movement.
The local Green MP, Hans-Christian Ströbele, said alternative housing projects such as Liebig 14 were one of Berlin’s trademarks and should be protected rather than destroyed.
More than 1,000 protesters gathered outside the building in the former east Berlin district of Friedrichshain. They waved banners, banged wooden spoons on saucepans and shouted at officers from the German Special Forces who had managed to climb onto the roof during the night. On the street, police in full riot gear blocked all access routes.
By 11.45am local time (10.45 GMT) 23 protesters had been arrested, but police had not managed to gain full access.
Demonstrations and publicity stunts are planned across Berlin throughout the day. Already, protesters claim to have paintballed the famous department store KaDeWe, Berlin’s answer to Harrod’s, along with the town hall in the district of Schöneberg, where John F Kennedy gave his”Ich bin ein Berliner” speech in 1963.
The building, which has 25 bedrooms, four kitchens and five bathrooms, was first squatted in 1990, shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall. After Berlin’s housing board took ownership of the house in 1992, the squatters signed a lease making them the legal residents.
After it was sold to private developers, the lease was passed on to the current occupiers, who range from 19 to 40 years old and hail from around the world. One British resident, a 24-year-old PhD student, gave her name as Sarah.
“People with not much money are being forced out of Berlin city centre. This is not just about 25 people losing their home, it’s a protest against the gentrification of the city and ordinary people all over being priced out of their local housing market.”
The district mayor, Franz Schulz, criticised the eviction. “It is not a good day. We’re losing an important alternative project,” he told Inforadio.
Berlin police said 2,500 officers were engaged in the operation, “but not all are stationed here; they are spread out all over the city to deal with the planned demonstrations”.