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‘Stop Being a Tourist!’ New Dynamics of Urban Tourism in Berlin-Kreuzberg

Authors


  • This research has been a cooperative effort by the Critical Geography Group Berlin [Kritische Geographie Berlin e.V.]. The authors would like to thank Sören Becker, Tom Bürk, Nina Gribat, Hanna Hermes, Kristine Müller, Matthias Naumann, Henning Schirmel, Tilman Versch and others for providing help in various forms. We would also like to thank three IJURR reviewers for their helpful comments.

Abstract

Berlin is witnessing a massive tourism boom, and parts of it can be described as ‘new urban tourism’, which shows a preference for off the beaten track areas and ‘authentic’ experiences of the city. This form of tourism seems especially salient in Kreuzberg. It is here that an openly articulated critique of tourism attracted national attention in 2011 and has not ceased to do so since. This article aims to better understand the conflictive potential of (new urban) tourism in Kreuzberg. We argue that the readily expressed negative attitudes against tourists and the easily accepted link between tourism and gentrification have to be explained against the backdrop of certain housing-market dynamics. Rising rents and a diminution in the number of flats available for rent are fuelling fears of gentrification in Kreuzberg, while the interest shown in new urban tourism and the comparatively low-priced real-estate market in Berlin result in a growing number of holiday flats. Although adding only slightly to the tightening of the housing market, holiday flats render complex processes of neighborhood change visible and further sustain an already prevalent tourism critique.

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