"(...) Arrival City argues that the ad hoc, self-determined neighborhoods that emerge out of mass migrations, termed “arrival cities,” are integral to integrating newcomers in their destination country. Saunders contributes an essay to Making Heimat. In it, he cautions that arrival cities are “where the new creative and commercial class will be born, or where the next wave of tension and violence will erupt.” The difference, he adds “depends on how we approach these districts both organizationally and politically, and, crucially, in terms of physical structures and built form.”
The cities of Hamburg and Berlin have come up with two different approaches to designing arrival cities. (...)
Berlin’s Kreuzberg district was first established as an arrival city in the 1970s by Turkish men who had traveled to West Germany as part of its gastarbeiter (guest worker) program. Initially, these men lived in dormitories, until their employers realized that workers were more productive when they were happy. Guest workers’ families then joined them, and the men moved out of the dorms and into Kreuzberg. Along the Berlin Wall in Kreuzberg, the rents were cheap. More importantly, landlords were willing rent to Turks.
Today, Kreuzberg is a mix of first- and second-generation holdovers from the 1970s migration, arty Berliners, hipster tourists, and English-speaking expats from the U.S., U.K., and elsewhere. Shabby-chic bars and white cube art galleries push up against kebab houses and hookah lounges. Saunders describes it as having “gone from disreputable to fashionable in a generation.”
But for all the cocktails and kebabs, Kreuzberg still plays host to new arrivals in Germany. It’s become a ground zero for Berlin’s refugee advocacy movement since asylum seekers occupied a disused school building in 2013. This past weekend, the refugee rights group Women in Exile held a rally there, seeking, among other things, more viable housing solutions for refugees and asylum seekers."
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Photograph via Fashion Underground