Housing shortage in cities: a completely normal way of life

Photo of author
Written By Maya Cantina

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City residents are often told that it is their own fault if they cannot find an apartment. “Move to the country.” A defense.

A person with moving boxes.

Not everyone wants to move to the country Photo: image

No one is obliged to move to the village. Some people like country life. Others may settle in the suburbs. And then there are people who need the city. The needs are different. Also life plans.

I’m a city person. In Kreuzberg I started wearing my hair down. I don’t plan on investing in hair ties again. How much space my hair is allowed to have is still an indication of how safe I feel as a black woman in a place. And yes: that’s enough reason to want to stay there.

There were times (not so long ago) when the housing issue was an ongoing topic in my area. The housing shortage, the search for an apartment and the expensive rents were previously accepted talk Späti or on the first date. Urban development, housing and rental policies shaped the political debates in my city and brought together many people and groups who otherwise had little contact.

People are disillusioned

And for a moment it felt a bit like you were part of a movement that could actually achieve something: as if many of the endangered residential buildings, neighborhood cafes, clubs and children’s shops could be saved. As if we can prevent Berlin from becoming an anonymous Starbucks hell where only Airbnb guests move.

a tilted rental roof and a successful one, but Unimplemented socialization referendum later the Berlin tenant movement is tired and so am I. It is probably the existential crux of the matter that people become disillusioned after many setbacks. But when did people actually become so mean? When I share the cry for help of a friend who is losing his apartment due to an outrageous personal use lawsuit, it is explained to me in detail that he should consider Brandenburg.

Why? What about “I’m looking for an apartment in Berlin”, didn’t you get it? During my own search I heard similar things. An acquaintance also accused me of having a “neighborhood cult” because I wanted to stay as close as possible to my friends, my workplace, and my local bar. And yes: moving also means a loss of identity for many people. I’ve seen die-hard Frankfurters move to Offenbach. It was not fun.

Solidarity is needed

“Move to the country” or “It’s your own fault if you absolutely have to live in the city” are probably the most common comments Articles about the rental explosion. Nothing new and all the more irritating that such statements now come from slightly left-wing city residents. Where does this attitude come from?

There is nothing wrong with wanting to live in the city. It is not elitist, not arrogant, not self-centered. It’s just a completely normal way of life. No one needs to justify it or even be ashamed of it. A family that would like to live in a familiar environment with another child? That is not a shameful thought. People compete for a two-room apartment within the S-Bahn ring. Not for a villa in Grunewald with lake access.

There is still a lot of solidarity. It needs that too. Not just for average earners like me and my friends. Many people find themselves in even more precarious situations and this is visible on every street corner. Cynicism and know-it-alls don’t help at all: there will be a rental demonstration in Berlin on June 1.

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