Berlin in the past days strikes me as very Favela Chic, Bruce Sterling style:
You have lost everything material, no job or prospects, but you are wired to the gills and really big on Facebook.
Sipping overpriced half-bad wine writing this in an uber-hip hotel in a reclaimed building with only reclaimed materials and laser cut lampshades. We’d call it a hostel back in the day (in fact next door ís a hostel looking eerily similar), but yet it feels strangely upmarket and it’s huge on FourSquare.
Visiting two great conferences looking towards the future, the first in a repurposed industrial revolution era machine factory, the other in a barely repurposed old freight train station.
Berlin is currently a very young city, judging by the people on the streets (and a quick confirming look at demographics), and it’s the EU’s 2nd largest. The city is going through shockwaves caused by the influx of money following its hipster and start-up image of the past years, which clashes with the low average income (15k/year in 2007) of its existing inhabitants. Hearing entrepreneurs complaining about office space rents rising above 300 Euro a month.
It is so very much along the lines of Reboot 11’s closing key-note by Bruce Sterling in 2009.
As Bruce Sterling put it then “Everything falls apart, but there are endless opportunities. You just didn’t think you’d dread them so much.”
It’s attractive and exciting, yet repulsive at the same time.