If you have ever visited Berlin, Kreuzberg must be one of our top choices to visit! Its variety of cultural and creative activities has not only made Kreuzberg the trendiest district in Berlin, but also named as the 6th coolest neighbourhood in the world in 2016 (How I Travel, 2016). Back in the 60’s, the vivid culture of the district has started to render with new lifestyles modified by migrated residents. During that period, increasing numbers of immigrants, artists, students, and activists began moving into the area due to the cheap rents regulated after the reconstruction of World War II. Following by the establishment of Berlin Wall, the vivid culture of Kreuzberg comes along with its different socio-cultural lifestyles accomplished by the subcultural inhabitants and squatters. Later on in 1989, the destruction of Berlin Wall has brought the city to a ‘melting pot’ where people around the world find a place with freedom and space to experiment and speak openly. (Schepers, 2014) One of the best known attractions of Kreuzberg’s creative culture, the East Side Gallery, had attracted numerous artists to paint on it during the spring to autumn in 1990 as a celebrated expression to the fall of Berlin Wall and the end of Cold War in Europe. As Figure 2 shows, Dmitri Vrubel’s My God, Help Me to Survive This Deadly Love (1990), also known as the socialist fraternal Kiss between the Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev and East German leader Erich Honecker, representing the special relation between the Socialist countries. Afterwards, Berlin street art and graffiti becomes the heritage of the city that the subculture then had transformed and succeeded into the creative culture now, making Kreuzberg a hip and attractive neighbourhood.
To discuss further about the creative activities in Kreuzberg, on the contrary, the word ‘gentrification’ has been a social issue in which the area’s cheap housings have drawn wealthier families to move into the cool and artistic neighbourhoods. In other words, the area’s creative and cultural production has became a medium for capitalism to gain better profits such as inducing higher rents in real-estate businesses. According to O’Sullivan’s report (2016), even though the government has executed the rent-control policy and subsidised low-income households, the rising rents can still be overpriced for some families and individuals. At the mean time, despite the fact that the Berlin government has been supporting the country’s creative sector with policies made over the past years, creative industries are transforming into enterprises that bring imbalance to the society.
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Local-life.com. (2016). Kreuzberg Berlin. [online] Available at: http://www.local-life.com/berlin/articles/kreuzberg [Accessed 21 Nov. 2016].
O’Sullivan, F. (2016). Masked Gentrification Protesters Have Smashed Nearly 50 Luxury Cars in Berlin. [online] CityLab. Available at: http://www.citylab.com/crime/2016/02/berlin-car-smash-burn-gentrification-germany/462117/ [Accessed 23 Nov. 2016].
Paperblog, (2016). The hispter district, Kreuzberg. [image] Available at: http://it.paperblog.com/kreuzberg-il-quartiere-hipster-di-berlino-3137205/ [Accessed 21 Nov. 2016].
Rare Historical Photos. (2014). The Socialist Fraternal Kiss between Leonid Brezhnev and Erich Honecker, 1979. [online] Available at: http://rarehistoricalphotos.com/socialist-fraternal-kiss-leonid-brezhnev-erich-honecker-1979/ [Accessed 22 Nov. 2016].
Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg, (2014). Squatting in Kreuzberg. Available at: http://www.the-berlin-wall.com/videos/squatting-in-kreuzberg-673/ [Accessed 21 Nov. 2016].