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Gentrification

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German geographers have a more distanced view on gentrification. Actual gentrification is seen as a mere symbolic issue happening in a low number of places and blocks, the symbolic value and visibility in public discourse being higher than actual migration trends. Gerhard Hard, for instance, assumes that urban flight is still more important than inner-city gentrification. Volkskunde scholar Barbara Lang introduced the term 'symbolic gentrification' with regard to the Mythos Kreuzberg in Berlin. Lang assumes that complaints about gentrification often come from those who have been responsible for the process in their youth. When former students and bohemians start raising families and earning money in better-paid jobs, they become the yuppies they claim to dislike. Especially Berlin is a showcase of intense debates about symbols of gentrification, while the actual processes are much slower than in other cities. The city's Prenzlauer Berg district is, however, a poster child of the capital's gentrification, as this area in particular has experienced a rapid transformation over the last two decades. This leads to mixed feelings amidst the local population. The neologism Bionade-Biedermeier was coined about Prenzlauer Berg. It describes the post-gentrifed milieu of the former quartier of the alternative scene, where alleged leftist alternative accessoires went into the mainstream. The 2013 Schwabenhass controversy in Berlin put the blame of gentrification in Prenzlauer Berg on well-to-do Swabians from southwest Germany saw the widespread use of inter-German ethnic slurs which would have been deemed unacceptable if used against foreigners.



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