Being a magnet for your, Berlin's Housing Problems Boil Over
When a German property developer tried to hold a meet-and-greet barbecue for neighbors of its new 68-unit condominium in August, protesters flooded the site, waving signs and dumping piles of garbage before police clad in bulletproof vests halted further unrest. The demonstrators were protesting soaring apartment rents and the increasing gentrification of the leafy working-class neighborhood of the area.
"It will change a lot of the area - we are afraid," said Tom Brown, an artist who leases space for his art gallery nearby and brought a large fake pig to register his disgust.
Major global cities like San Francisco, New York and London are groaning under the stress of fast-increasing populations that are far outpacing the creation of new housing. But few cities face a quandary as difficult as Berlin's. More than 40,000 new residents a year have been piling in recently, as Berlin has become a magnet for European youth.
Yet no more than 8,000 housing units a year were added through 2014, according to real-estate firm, a yawning gap that lies at the heart of Berlin's housing problems today.
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