Photo by Jcornelius (Wikimedia Commons)
Beyond yesterday's non-event of Germany officially voting its replacement daddy figure/president Joachim Gauck into office – the most tiresome livestream in the history of the Bundestag (and that's saying something) – more interesting news has been popping up locally...
1. Transport price-hike
Time to get angry: the BVG is raising its prices again. A single ticket in zone AB goes up to €2.40 in August. Just one more sign that the Wowi crew is lacking a concept for sustainable, affordable transport. More people will buy cars. A few more people will take their bikes. And the BVG and S-Bahn will lose even more passengers.
I loved the Piratenpartei's idea of ticketless public transport for all – paid for by a universal "flat-rate". But even a substantial drop in ticket prices down to around €1 per trip would radically increase public transport use... and send out a message that Berlin was serious about sustainability.
But that ain't gonna happen any time soon. As we have long known, Wowereit is uninterested in daring proposals. He's happy being in power – and building new innercity motorways in exchange for federal cash and supporting a couple of showcase electric car projects. The last thing he wants to do is rock the status quo.
2. Neukölln gentri-news
Bringing us to the next info-snippet. It's official: a Senate-assigned study by sociologist Sigmar Gude found that "gentrification has not yet begun in northern Neukölln" (the part of Neukölln inside of the S-Bahn ring – which you and I refer to as "Neukölln"). All you "pioneers" of gentrification – students, artists, hipsters etc. – can sigh a breath of relief. The crux of the matter is, according to Gude, that in the case of Neukölln, the true gentrifiers – people with really high incomes ("yuppie scum", "Schwaben") aren't actually following in the footsteps of the pioneers. Meaning that "low income/status people are being replaced by people with only marginally higher income/status." Rent price increases of 35 percent have only occured in certain areas like the Reuter and Schiller neighbourhoods. Phew!
3. Move over, Knut
Speaking of status: certain celebrity animals enjoy higher status than President Gauck. Today is the first anniversary of Knut the polar bear's death. The zoo is expecting a flood of mourners. Maybe it's time to move on... and start mourning the poor earless bunny that was known as Til in the small Limbach-Oberfrohna zoo in Saxony that was crushed to death very early on in his career – by a cameraman at its first press conference last week.