Walk VII: Kreuzberg

August 17, 2016 § 2 Comments

Kreuzberg’s one of those interesting areas in Berlin found in every major city: half trendy and gentrified, half not. I remember growing up in Sydney and hearing about several suburbs that were going to “come up” as the next ultra-chic urban paradise. But they never made it.

That’s a good thing. The alternative is to have a city where only the affluent live within a 10-kilometer radius of the center. Not only is that unfair, it also changes it into a…

The best term I can think of is multi-function polis. For those of you fortunate enough to have never heard this term, it describes an artificially-created modern city built for business and government interests. In Australia, we heard it a lot in the eighties when government was trying (and still is) to spread the population and business beyond the two major cities.

It never took off. I wonder why: who wouldn’t want to live in a sterile, steel+concrete+glass “city”, thrown up in the middle of nowhere with absolutely no diversity of culture?

While rich inner-city districts aren’t quite to that level of heterogeneity, they do lose vitality when only peopled by the wealthy.

Kreuzberg will definitely become trendier and more gentrified but, due to stringent tenant laws and awful Eastern housing blocks that rich outsiders won’t want to move into, will probably always retain the kind of mix we need in our cities.

The picture I’ve included today fascinates me and reminds me of the beauty of the human spirit. Look at the exterior of this housing block! My privileged mind shouts “how can someone live here?” Well, of course they do. And they seek beauty like everyone else. Yet how can those flowers in the window compete with the leaden grey that dominates?

They don’t have to. It’s enough that they’re there. If this area were completely gentrified, the story of this picture wouldn’t exist. DSC_0158.jpg


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