If Berlin is the New SoHo Then What is the New Berlin?

For the past five years, there has been much buzz about how Berlin is to artists what SoHo was in the 1980s—cheap and creative.

But this comparison is viewed unfavorably by Berliners who are in no way jealous of New York--especially these days.


What initially lured young artists to Berlin was the promise of affordable housing and a thriving artistic community. However, as everyone knows, when demand increases so does the prices, and on a recent trip to Berlin, I found that rent in the most affordable (and chic) section of East Berlin, Friedrichshain, was at this point comparable to most cosmopolitan cities. While this is a good omen for Berlin’s economy, which was stagnant compared to the rest of post cold war Germany, the question now is how this is changing Berlins creative community.

Some galleries are able to compete with newer American outposts, like the Berlin branch of LA’s Peres Projects. Others, such as the Pierogi Gallery, are choosing to open shop in nearby Leipzig, a former East German city known for producing painting ingénue Neo Rauch, and for its selection of  all but deserted buildings. However, the recent influx of artists leaving Berlin for other German cities raises the question: If Berlin was the “New” New York, what will be the “New” Berlin?

As artist Sean Scully explained to Big Think, there needs to be the right mix of affordability with a youthful demographic. Possible contenders raised over the years have included Philadelphia, Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Shanghai, and most recently Detroit. However, the question that begs to be asked is, will we ever again see in another city the perfect storm which made New York City in the 80’s such an enticing place for young creatives? Times are changing and we shall see.

Big Think Edge
  • The meaning of the word 'confidence' seems obvious. But it's not the same as self-esteem.
  • Confidence isn't just a feeling on your inside. It comes from taking action in the world.
  • Join Big Think Edge today and learn how to achieve more confidence when and where it really matters.
Sponsored by the Institute for Humane Studies
  • There are 2 different approaches to governing free speech on college campuses.
  • One is a morality/order approach. The other is a bottom-up approach.
  • Emily Chamlee-Wright says there are many benefits to having no one central authority on what is appropriate speech.

Why the number 137 is one of the greatest mysteries in physics

Famous physicists like Richard Feynman think 137 holds the answers to the Universe.

Pixabay
Surprising Science
  • The fine structure constant has mystified scientists since the 1800s.
  • The number 1/137 might hold the clues to the Grand Unified Theory.
  • Relativity, electromagnetism and quantum mechanics are unified by the number.
Keep reading Show less
Big Think Edge
  • Economist Sylvia Ann Hewlett breaks down what qualities will inspire others to believe in you.
  • Here's how 300 leaders and 4,000 mid-level managers described someone with executive presence.
  • Get more deep insights like these to power your career forward. Join Big Think Edge.