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Anti-Gentrification Activists In Berlin Chase Away BMW-Guggenheim Project

Not wanting to risk the wrath of unhappy neighbors, New York’s Guggenheim Foundation has decided against setting up a “mobile laboratory” in Berlin’s Kreuzberg district. The lab, a joint project with BMW, is currently on a tour of major world capitals.

Kreuzberg is tipping toward trendy (libertinus)
Kreuzberg is tipping toward trendy (libertinus)


*NEWSBITES

BERLIN -- After threats by extreme leftist groups, a planned research project by automobile manufacturer BMW and New York's Guggenheim Museum will not be going ahead in the Berlin neighborhood of Kreuzberg.

The BMW Guggenheim Lab, previously located in New York, is a "mobile laboratory traveling around the world to inspire innovative ideas for city life," according to its website.

The opening of the lab in Berlin had been scheduled to take place on May 23, with Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit in attendance. Earlier this week, however, organizers announced that the lab will not in fact be making an appearance in Kreuzberg. The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation made the decision after learning from police and local authorities of threats delivered against the project.

The announcement follows a public anti-lab demonstration held last week. Area residents and left-wing activists, concerned about rising housing costs, say the project is part of a trend towards gentrification of the neighborhood. Several individuals associated with the project who reside in the area received threats.

Bypassing Berlin?

An e-mail sent to Die Welt claiming to be from area residents, stated: "We don't want a BMW Guggenheim Lab or the planned complex of luxury apartments!" Berlin police are taking the threats seriously, but said in a statement they think acts of vandalism are more likely than are attacks against people.

The lab, on its tour of nine world cities, was supposed to be in Berlin until July. Die Welt has recently received information that the lab could be redirected to Berlin's Prenzlauer Berg neighborhood. But there's also a chance the lab will end up bypassing Berlin altogether.

Leftists in the Kreuzberg area have in the past repeatedly criticized projects by real estate investors and have attacked some of those built.

Franz Schulz, the area's Green party leader, criticized the recent threats and regretted the fact that the lab would not be setting up in his district. He said that the ideas factory would have provided an opportunity to brainstorm about Kreuzberg's urban development.

Read the full story in German by Joachim Fahrun and Sabine Flatau

Photo - Libertinus

*Newsbites are digest items, not direct translations

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food / travel

Denied The Nile: Aboard Cairo's Historic Houseboats Facing Destruction

Despite opposition, authorities are proceeding with the eviction of residents of traditional houseboats docked along the Nile in Egypt's capital, as the government aims to "renovate" the area – and increase its economic value.

Houseboats on the Nile in Zamalek, Cairo

Ahmed Medhat and Rana Mamdouh

With an eye on increasing the profitability of the Nile's traffic and utilities, the Egyptian government has begun to forcibly evict residents and owners of houseboats docking along the banks of the river, in the Kit Kat area of Giza, part of the Greater Cairo metropolis.

The evictions come following an Irrigation Ministry decision, earlier this month, to remove the homes that have long docked along the river.

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