The current state of Berlin is often compared with the spirit and vibrance of cities like Hamburg in the 70th or Chicago, New York and Miami in the 80th. With its wild art- and culuture scene, with the constant challange of what is right and what is wrong, what is moral and how the society should work. But while we know what these cities did to make them become these boring, almost dead places for entrepreneurship they are today, Berlin officials are not taking the lessons to make this something long-lasting for the city.
I stated earlier that I consider the entrepreurial spirit to have its core in the art scene. Not only because of cheap rents and living costs, they share a similar vibe but also becaue of their nature and the environment they need to flurish: a wild and passionate world full of oppurtunities. Such an environment existing in the early 80th in Chicago and Miami and in the 70th in Hamburg and New York. From a city development stand point of view, this often started and happened in the slums, the very worst parts of the cities.
And when trying to get rid of these places, the poorness and the grafiti, the artists and entrepreneurs were also kicked out. Not literally, but cleaning up everything, tidy up and not allow any inconsistancy to be there, consider that bad actually, drove them away. Only very small parts of these cities still have this spirit of opportunity and change, this vibe that is so emminent for the arts and startup scene. After all, both of them are not something particularly bound to a location but simply driven by people. And if you drive the people away, if there is a better place to be instead, they’ll go, after all, most of them only came the last couple of years ago, what would you make think they’d stay?
This city has nothing to make them stick. As no other city has. Aside from nuturing the spirit they need to flourish. That spirit Hamburg had and got rid off when refurbishing their whole city into a giant, tidy museum. Berlin still has that spirit but in the whole debate of Berlin being poor and trying to attract more international investors to build huge, ugly buildings at the spree and the city center, they are risking this same spirit.
Com’on Berlin, look around you, at the other cities and how they lost this spirit they are now desperately trying to win back. You still got it, don’t take it for granted and don’t risk it, or you’ll be as boring in ten years as Hamburg is now. Instead state openly that you like this spirit and you want to support the arts and the culture and not only tourism- but also new-international-jobs-money will follow.