What's the Latest Development?

Authorities in Berlin's Pankow district have passed legislation prohibiting several real estate improvements, including installing new fireplaces and offering reserved parking spaces, that could raise property values and force existing residents out. It's largely a response to events in other areas of the city but particularly in the neighboring district of Prenzlauer Berg, where many have been priced out of their homes due to a wave of renovations and conversions. Unlike Prenzlauer Berg, which has always been working-class, Green Party-led Pankow authorities hope to retain the neighborhood's middle-class status by keeping properties affordable for its existing population base.

What's the Big Idea?

Although some property owners may be frustrated by the new legislation, so far the reaction has been generally positive, and this may be due to the fact that most Berliners are renters. "In a city where residents look in horror at the high rents and inequality of London and New York, there’s a growing consensus that something must be done if Berlin isn’t going to go the same way. The citywide government, for example, is following Pankow and looks set to ban new holiday homes later this month."

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