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Andrej Holm

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Urban Renewal and the End of Social Housing: Roll Out of Neoliberalism in East Berlin’s Prenzlauer Berg

The old housing stock in the inner city of East Berlin (GDR) declined until 1989 because the political decision was taken to disinvest. After the regime change in 1989, which entailed West Germany’s annexation of the former German Democratic Republic, the housing market and urban policy in East Berlin were totally changed. A new renewal regime was established with the attempt to copy administrative structures from West to East. Unlike renewal conditions in West Berlin, urban and housing policy in East Berlin had to deal with an emerging economization of housing markets, a fundamental crisis of public budgets, and increasing demand for gentrified tenements. This article describes the instruments and consequences of the new renewal policy as a “roll out” strategy of neoliberalism. The mode of regulation changed from social housing policy to a moderation of market processes. The tenants’ participation changed from a collective and political representation of common interests to a customized bargaining about the conditions of modernization. As a result, this renewal policy boosted the gentrification of the renewal areas.

urban renewal, housing policies, roll-out neoliberalism, Germany, gentrification

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 33, No. 3 (2006): 114-128