On Monday I went with Dennis and Mieke to the “Keine Rendite mit der Miete” march. The protest was spurred by a camp in Kottbuser Tor where a group of Turkish residents have been occupying for weeks. They can no longer afford the rent in the social housing where they have lived for decades. Many of them receive welfare from the state which pays their rent, but only up to a certain amount. Currently, there are no caps to how much landlords can charge for rent in social housing, essentially forcing out those residents. In Berlin, apartments at the rate that the welfare program pays are far from the city center and therefor far from jobs and other support networks.
We marched to the Ritz Carlton hotel in Potsdamer Platz where an annual meeting of property investors were meeting with the politicians responsible for the development of Berlin. Sound fishy? I must admit that I don’t fully understand how these systems operate, but it seems that elected officials should be protecting the interests of the residents of Berlin, not helping speculators turn a profit.
A small but diverse crowd gathered in the police barricades set up for the demonstration directly across from the hotel entrance. As the conference participants left the building for their fancy dinner at the Kulturbrauerei, everyone started yelling and screaming for them to “get the hell out!”
Everyone thinks that Berlin is a dreamland of giant apartments for little money. That was true in the 90s, but it’s not really the case anymore. It’s amazing to see how the city has transformed over time, but things seem to have hit some sort of saturation point where there’s no more room for the people displaced by gentrification.
More info on the Kotti Camp: