Rigaer Straße 94 has been squatted since 1990. Back then, it was one of dozens of similar squats throughout Berlin, and one of many in and around Rigaer Straße itself. Over the years, most of Berlin’s squats have been either legalized through rental contracts, or the residents have been forcibly removed.
The issue of gentrification isn't unique to Berlin. But what has been new for me is to witness the visceral, and sometimes violent, reaction of those who feel that their rights are being squeezed. In certain neighborhoods signs like "Go Home Hipsters!" or "Fuck You Yuppies" are common. I've walked past a few of these signs before, but the issue really popped for me a couple of weeks ago when a "Low Rent" sign was posted next to my apartment building, and when later that same day I walked past a new apartment building in Kreuzberg that had been vandalized. It was clearly not a random act of vandalism. Each window was smashed on the ground floor, paint was sprayed onto the upper floors, and "Hood Defense" was spray painted next to one of the windows. I've posted a few pictures throughout this post.