What is happening in the less habited and developed areas of Athens with he boom of Airbnb and gentrification? Is the development something we thrive and embrace or should be fare this development?
The film Gut Renovation
In 1989, together with a group of female friends, Su Friedrich rented and renovated an old loft in Williamsburg, an unassuming working-class district of Brooklyn. In 2005 this former industrial zone was designated a residential area and the factories, manufacturers and artists’ lofts were priced out by property speculators lured by tax breaks. Friedrich spent five years documenting with her camera the changes in the area between East River and the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. She shows the demolition of industrial buildings and the construction of trendy new apartments for wealthy clients, watching old tenants leave and new inhabitants arrive. As she keeps meticulous record of developments, the extent and speed of the upheaval becomes clear. Her own tenancy agreement expires too and so her documentary images and trenchant commentary become the tools of her growing anger.
A documentary of small changes evolves into an historical record of New York. The resulting film is a melancholy, essayistic requiem for a neighbourhood and an entire way of life; it also provides a case study of the rapid gentrification of our cities. Gentrification (or the English version of the term refinement) now reflects the story that the avant-garde cinema champion, Su Friedrich, describes in her documentary Gut Renovation. It is a socio-economic phenomenon and is characterized by the purchase and renovation of houses and shops in deprived urban neighborhoods, which over time leads to the upgrading of the district and the increase in the value of real estate and rents. The social processes of restructuring the degraded areas of the city displaced the most economically weak and expelled them to the lower strata of the residential complex, where already those who are leaving the process of development on its sidelines. By integrating the “problematic” area into the productive zone of the city, the city’s dichotomy is enhanced in “good” residential / work and “bad” urban areas.
After the screening of the film, there is a panel about the pros and cons of refining and upgrading the areas of our city with representatives from FairBnB, journalists, graduates from the NTUA and residents of our city from Generation 2.0 for Rights, Equality & Diversity.
Sebene Eshete has studied International and European Studies in the University of Piraeus and has completed a master’s degree in Environment and Development at NTUA. With G2RED she fights for equal rights and opportunities for all, regardless of their ethnicity or sexual orientation.
Urban planner and post-doctoral researcher at the Regional Development Institute, where he will soon lead a post doc relating to platform economy and Airbnb.
Architect, urban planner and doctoral research candidate in Economic Geography and Regional Development, member of the Fair Bnb team in Greece and the workers’ cooperative Commonspace.
You can find the facebook event here