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.

How to vaccinate the world’s most vulnerable? Build global partnerships.

Pfizer's partnerships strengthen their ability to deliver vaccines in developing countries.

Susan Silbermann, Global President of Pfizer Vaccines, looks on as a health care worker administers a vaccine in Rwanda. Photo: Courtesy of Pfizer.
Sponsored
  • Community healthcare workers face many challenges in their work, including often traveling far distances to see their clients
  • Pfizer is helping to drive the UN's sustainable development goals through partnerships.
  • Pfizer partnered with AMP and the World Health Organization to develop a training program for healthcare workers.
Keep reading Show less

James Patterson on writing: Plotting, research, and first drafts

The best-selling author tells us his methods.

Videos
  • James Patterson has sold 300 million copies of his 130 books, making him one of the most successful authors alive today.
  • He talks about how some writers can overdo it by adding too much research, or worse, straying from their outline for too long.
  • James' latest book, The President is Missing, co-written with former President Bill Clinton, is out now.
Keep reading Show less

How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
  • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
  • Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
  • Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
Keep reading Show less

Why the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner won’t feature a comedian in 2019

It's the first time the association hasn't hired a comedian in 16 years.

(Photo by Anna Webber/Getty Images for Vulture Festival)
Culture & Religion
  • The 2018 WHCA ended in controversy after comedian Michelle Wolf made jokes some considered to be offensive.
  • The WHCA apologized for Wolf's jokes, though some journalists and many comedians backed the comedian and decried arguments in favor of limiting the types of speech permitted at the event.
  • Ron Chernow, who penned a bestselling biography of Alexander Hamilton, will speak at next year's dinner.
Keep reading Show less