[I originally posted this over on Toytown Germany] I am constantly amused by how gentrification is considered some terrible plague by some along the same lines of a city blight or a flight.
It is always the artist’s fault. They move in to these neighborhoods because they’re poor and the ‘hoods are cheap. They open galleries and ultra-cheap-but cool little bars or get lots of square-footage lofts for cheap.
All is well until they invite a yuppie. It might very well be a patron of the arts or art collector or even a friend-of-a-friend who makes it to the bar.
Then, it is discovered and all that interest comes in: cheap new hip place that’s cheap and then the speculative real estate investors come in.
So, it is generally not the fault of the yuppies it is the fault of the cheap and poor hipsters who move into these new finds because they’re affordable and pristine and authentic — and then they create awesome little holes in the walls, boutiques, galleries, and show venues.
Hell, I am an entrepreneur and I guess yuppie and I would totally move to Neukölln now. Completely cheap and there are amazing green grocers and lots of U-Bahn access!
And I would probably feel OK to pay €500-€1500/month for a super-fly pad. And spend money in the neighborhood. Does that make me a villain?
Also, because I am there, it may well attract people who want to sell to me even though I am super-happy to shop at the Turkish groceries and bakeries.
The only way for places to remain authentic and cheap is to remain undiscovered and, at least in the USA, they need to remain red-lined and perceived at a little rough and dangerous– or at least alien and unforgiving.
It is a little too late for Neukölln but what of Wedding and Moabit?