In the eye of the storm: Urban Transformations in Berlin – Realities of Crisis and Perspectives for Social Struggles

By Sabrina Apicella, Yossi Bartal, Noel David Nicolaus and Hannah Schurian

A research paper developed in the Summer School “Teaching the crisis – Geographies, Methodologies, Perspectives”
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Thanks to Manuela Bojadzijev, Amir Husak and Jan Hutta
Nachbarschaftsladen, Kotti&Co, Familie Gülbol


Based on a group research conducted in summer 2013 this article approximates crisis through historical and current realities and dynamics in the urban context of Berlin. Departing from the field of real estate our perspective is shaped by new forms of activism and resistance contrasting local conditions with their connection to global processes. We emphasize that changes in urban planning in Post-War (Western) Berlin, contesting the strong squatting movement (2.), led to specific organization of neoliberal policies, thus financialization as a glocal phenomenon (3.). Then gentrification is discussed as a relatively new condition for struggles around living conditions at Berlin (4.). Thereafter we show the ambivalence of the creative sector containing both possibilities for urban resistance and restraints of neoliberal subjectification (5.). Our approach approximates several crises as a historical condition for Berlin’s development and current dynamics, with struggles and movements as a part of those.

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