Editor’s note: The second article in our new “Gentrification in Leipzig” series came up pretty spontaneously, as a response to the first piece by Christijan Broerse. We’d like to hear opinions from more readers. You can write to us on the topic at firstname.lastname@example.org, subject line gentrification.
The rise of hipsterdom, of man buns and oh-so-individual sameness in the uniform dresscode, hair styles, tattoos and totes has been flooding Karl-Heine-Straße for several years now.
Literally open a hole in the wall and present a bottle of beer and someone will want part of that, you’ve founded the new in-place. Ever more cafés, snack places and bars – because why have a large Späti or a store for instruments when you can have the umpteenth place that sells you Bio drinks and Mate.
Gentrification is a tide that cannot be stopped as it poisons everything. And no, I’m not for squatters, but I am for people and businesses keeping their old places and continue rather than new ventures opening and annoying those who came before.
An example: Most of the eatery/drinker places on Karl-Heine that have been opened in the last 2 years don’t give a damn about being quiet after a certain time in the evening. It is cool and hip to be open for ages and the patrons are paying good money for their warm bottled beer, so why should one care for those living just above the bar, etc.
In turn, old staples that have by reason d’etre longer opening hours (I’m looking at the theatres, etc.) get sued by the newly-moved-in cappuccino mums and dads who find it oh so chic to be living in an overpriced old factory, but hell, please respect the sleeping patterns of their offspring.
The connection between people in the quarter is being lost, more strings become undone and everyone is looking out for just themselves. Trees are being cut down for yet another overpriced investment project where you can buy a slice of the dream that is Plagwitz/Lindenau by spending a fortune on an overpriced rabbit cage. Never mind that this newly built concrete investment is blocking the view of those who lived there for years.
Before, you could announce that you were looking for someone to take over your flat, some people would say they were interested, and then you’d have someone come next month. Now the new arrivals treat you like an estate agent, demand XYZ and then don’t even have the courtesy to cancel. At the same time, you cannot find a new place without breaking the bank.
Thus you actually get to move to Gohlis where yes, some buildings have been done up, but where there is enough spirit from never really having been the Hypezig place to be. And that makes for affordable and friendly living.
By Helen Bluemel