Saturday, May 5, 2012

"What was spared by war doesn't survive under socialism!"

The quote was spray painted on a building on Mulackstraße in Berlin that you can see in a Spiegel photo gallery, "East Germany's Transformation". It was lying in ruins in 1992, a quarter mile from Unter den Linden!

One thing that's interesting to see is how many up the structures end up being rehabilitated rather than torn town.  If they can survive one of the biggest battles of WWII and decades of communist neglect, they will probably last forever.

2 comments:

eahilf said...

One thing that's interesting to see is how many up the structures end up being rehabilitated rather than torn town.

of the structures

For a number of reasons. In general there is a strong aesthetic preference for Altbau -- e.g. due to neighborhood appearance, character, or maybe just high ceilings. Especially when compared to the hideous Plattenbau put up on a massive scale in the East. Also there are laws, e.g. many buildings are under Denkmalschutz, meaning it would be illegal to tear them down, and the changes that can be made during renovation must be approved.

For many years Berlin has not only been a cheap place to live by the standards of European capital cities, but also among major cities in Germany. But rents in Berlin are rising faster now. And compared to the rest of the former East Germany -- which, despite two decades of heavy subsidies, including the ongoing Solidaritätszuschlag, in many places still looks more like Poland than western Europe -- Berlin is attracting more investment.

But Berlin still has many problems, including a large amount of debt, a weak economy, and too many people who, uhh, will never be able to make a proportionate contribution to a first world economy. Unemployment always hovers between 15 and 20 percent.

I live in Berlin.

CP said...

Thanks, E.H., I figured you would know some Berlin history.

I love the socialism quote. That is profound.

I had never heard of plattenbau. It's called khrushchyovka in USSR.

What are rents in Berlin like? Do you know what the cap rates are?

What are the Berlin demographic trends now? Is it different than the other cities?

Do people agree with Sarrazin? Obviously it is a best seller for a reason...