Cash V. Culture

Fighting Against Gentrification

From London, Berlin to Paris – and in many other European capitals, entire quarters are being demolished and rebuilt by property developers backed by international investors, often leaving traditional areas of these cities changed beyond recognition. „Gentrification“ is the term coined by sociologists to describe this process. Now, artists throughout Europe have teamed up to fight gentrification. Professor of Sociology, Hartmut Häussermann, and an expert on gentrification, gets to the heart of it: “First they evict all the tenants, then they invest millions and cream off gigantic profits – that’s the business model!”

News

  • 06/2011 - TV Premiere of "Cash vs. Culture"

    Our film Cash vs. Culture on the artistic uprising against the gentrification of cities celebrated its successful TV premiere on [...]

    Kultur oder Kommerz

    Our film Cash vs. Culture on the artistic uprising against the gentrification of cities celebrated its successful TV premiere on ARTE on Monday, June 20th and can now be watched online at Arte.tv.

    Film on ARTE.tv



Cash V. Culture

From London, Berlin to Paris – and in many other European capitals, entire quarters are being demolished and rebuilt by property developers backed by international investors, often leaving traditional areas of these cities changed beyond recognition. „Gentrification“ is the term coined by sociologists to describe this process. Now, artists throughout Europe have teamed up to fight gentrification, since it tends to be them, who move to less well-off areas and in the process revive the neighbourhood – until the investors arrive. Professor of Sociology, Hartmut Häussermann, and an expert on gentrification, gets to the heart of it: “First they evict all the tenants, then they invest millions and cream off gigantic profits – that’s the business model!”

London has had to deal with gentrification for decades – the current hotspot is located in the northeast of the city, in the suburb of “Hackney Wick”. When sound artist Simon Reuben-White started living and working in this area, it was still completely industrial. Rents back then were reasonable and attracted artists in their thousands – up until London was chosen to host the 2012 Olympics. Ever since, investors have been invading the territory, demolishing old factories used by many artists as work and living space, and building giant facilities for the upcoming Olympics. Although Simon has teamed up with hundreds of artists to organize a protest festival, it looks that the only hope he has left is that he will not be amongst those being evicted.

In Hamburg, public protest against profit driven city planning has a long tradition dating back to the 1960s. In the summer of 2009 under the patronage of star-painter Daniel Richter, a group of artists set up the „Right to the City“ initiative and squatted in the historic „Gängeviertel“ to stop the plans of a Dutch property investor. Eventually, the city council had to cede to public pressure and bought back the property. What was intended to be turned into luxury apartments for the mega-rich, did after a long struggle become affordable living and working space for artists.  An uncommon, but successful example of fighting gentrification preserving one of Hamburg’s last historic quarters.

Real estate speculation leaves its’ mark on every European city – with Paris being no exception. At the world famous „Place de Vosges“ located in the former Jewish quarter of „Le Marais“, student activist group „Jeudi Noir“ squatted in an abandoned castle. In spectacular projects and performances they protest against unproportionally high rents and the ever more serious housing shortage that goes with it. When goldsmith Anne Glaser and instrument builder James Chauvelin moved to “Le Marais”, it was still a working class area with rents affordable to ordinary people. But since the 1960s speculation has been rife in this part of the French capital and property developers used harsh if not dubious practices to evict the tenants. Today, “Le Marais” is one of the most expensive quarters in Paris – full of luxury boutiques and coffeehouse chains that have long since eradicated its’ original Jewish charm.

City-centre studios in Paris or London are hardly affordable any more, which is why many young, international artists have made the move to Berlin in recent years. Both the German video-artist Julian Ronnefeldt and the French musician Guillaume Siffert spent a long time in London and Paris respectively – but for the last few years Berlin has become their home and source of inspiration – owing a lot to the comparatively cheap cost of living in the German capital. In Berlin “Neukölln” – in the former East of the city and now a multicultural melting pot – the city council even advertises for artists to settle down in abandoned buildings to revive the area that counts as one of the most socially disadvantaged of the city. But will local residents and artists eventually have to give way to gentrification here, too? And within ten years time, will “Neukölln” be submitted to the same “yuppification” that has taken over “Berlin-Mitte”?

“Cash V. Culture” sets out to look behind the scenes, thus offering new perspectives and concepts on more social justice in tomorrow’s cities.

Writer and Director: Claudia Dejá
Producer: Reinhardt Beetz
Camera: Torben Müller
Sound: Bea Müller
Editor: Christoph Senn
Graphics: Stefan Matlik
Soundmix: Pierre Brand
Narrators: Nadja Schulz-Berlinghoff, Sandra Kob, Rainer Schmitt, Philip Schwarz
Production Managers: Hannah Lenitzki, Cordula Stadter, Wolfgang Kramer (NDR)
Production Assistants: Beate Renner, Malte Hadeler
Production Supervisor: Daniela Schöne
Assistant to Commissioning Editors: Angela Vietzke (NDR/ARTE)
Commissioning Editors: Kathrin Bronnert (NDR/ARTE), Ulrike Dotzer (NDR/ARTE)



Kooperation

arte_logo
  • Cash V. Culture

    arte
    20 June 2011 at 10:45 pm

  • Cash V. Culture

    3sat
    02 October 2013 at 9:00 pm

  • Cash V. Culture

    arte
    12 August 2014 at 2:35 am