- Thu Oct 25, 2018 8:05 am
This is wonderful news and enormous credit must go to GloReiche, a campaigning group based on two neighbouring streets, Glogauer and Reichenberger Straße. They have piled on the pressure with weekly demos, constant visible outreach, door-to-door activism and media engagement.
The task seemed quite futile at one point, but the mood changed during the summer and there was a sense that the tide was turning. This result is, in that context, all the more remarkable! And, important.
The pace of gentrification in our neighbourhood has been simply unsustainable. Few who have lived here for decades or all their lives have the jobs (or skills) to pay the sky-high rents that are now the norm, and traditional businesses, without security of tenure, don't stand an earthly, either. With their closing, that impacts each time on perhaps three or four families as low-margin but sustainable bakeries and alterations shops disappear and up pop Fro-Yo bars and organic cosmetic stores where not a cent of the profit remains in the neighbourhood.
Lace together a few of these and it soon adds up to a chunk of demographic change.
We accept "progress" and we thrive on it. But, these are our homes and our communities. Any achingly-hip young things with silly trousers are tourists who have bought the lazy stereotypes that persist in the easyJet magazine. And they sure as shit ain't there when we need to clean the snow from the sidewalks or weed the verges. The rest of us are just trying to get on with our lives and maintain a work-life balance that has been surrendered all too easily by other city neighbourhoods the world over.
I know we are unique and I understand how appealing our community must be to outsiders. But, this really is a case of, if you are not actively engaged, you are part of the problem.
And, Google was always going to be a massive problem. We don't need 200k software engineers skimming off whatever property there might be, we need kindergarten places and people to staff them. We don't need investors rattling on about disrupting the lemongrass sector, we need affordable housing on the many brownfield sites that are still left over from the war.
Of course, there is still so much to do. Winning this battle is important and totemic but the wider war is far from won.