The upcoming Berlin neighbourhood Neukölln could be a great example. Neukölln is a collection of hyper innovative initiatives. This makes this city part south of Kreuzberg completely exciting. On first sight nothing special seems to happen, but behind the facades of small houses all kinds of things are going on. Project spaces, concept galleries, mini cinemas and Wohnzimmer bars pop up. Where else would you find a micro gallery dedicated to sound performances, presenting a new piece of conceptual sound architecture every Sunday? Where will you find an in-house flea market or art gallery/cinema/bar at only thirty square meters? Neukölln is mind blowing and definitely inspiring.
Creating new concepts for spaces is the connecting idea behind these initiatives and projects that arise in Neukölln, often done by combining functions that are seldom combined (shop/bar, cinema/gallery space), or by creating new functions from scratch. The bottom line is that Neukölln’s inhabitants show to search for an enrichment of their city’s programme through a combination of entrepreneurship and creativity.
To me this is a brilliant example of gentrification as it is supposed to be. It’s a process lead by private initiatives, that changes the urban programme, rather than the physical appearance of the city. An unexpected context that attracts a new avant garde is created. Neukölln is not imitating what happened before in Berlin’s former successfully gentrified areas like Prenzlauer Berg and Kreuzberg, but finds its own way, adding a contemporary piece to the city.
Later I will write more about a couple of neat Neukölln places.