House occupied in Stühlinger – “We protest against outlandish rental prices and displacement”
Posted on 08/12/2018 by Die WG Freiburg
On the morning of 8 December, Guntramstraße 44 was occupied. We can no longer simply watch the direction in which our city is going – horrendous rents, gentrification and displacement. As a prelude to the campaign “Die WG (Create Living Spaces)” we moved into the uninhabited house to fill it with life.
Guntramstrasse 44 is a typical example of housing development in Freiburg. The new owner, the Zurich doctor Bertram Feil and his father-in-law Bernhardt Wütz pushed all the renters out of the house over the past year – with unsustainable rent increases and the disconnecting of the electricity. According to Feil, the Zurich family wants to move into some of the apartments, the rest should be available to the in-laws in case of a visit.
“Unfortunately, this process is a daily occurrence in Freiburg – tenants are expelled, then houses are renovated in luxury and rented out or even sold for unaffordable prices. While a few people may make profits from it, we lose our living and living space,” said one of the occupiers.
Especially in the Stühlinger, houses are bought up at an alarming rate and made more profitable by luxury renovation. This changes entire streets and the social make-up of the district – families with children can no longer find housing; Lower-income people must move to the city’s margins. A colourful neighbourhood is becoming increasingly exclusive.
One of the occupants says: “We are occupying because the rental situation in Freiburg is unsustainable. Our neighborhoods, houses and apartments are not speculative objects. Housing is a central need of all and must remain affordable.”
In a city like Freiburg, where there is a constant shortage of housing, investment in real estate is a profitable investment. Freiburg is currently ranked 5th most expensive city in Germany. This has fatal consequences for the people of this city. Not only affordable housing, but also cultural spaces are increasingly disappearing.
” The timid attempts of the city to counter the rent madness are far from sufficient. That’s why we’re taking matters into our own hands now.”
We no longer want to listen to the empty words of the ruling parties, the use and design of the city is not the task of urban construction, nor that of an incompetent mayor, and certainly not of Swiss doctors, but of all those who live in this city, use and shape the city in their own way. A city must be affordable for all, and urban development must come from below. We are resolutely opposed to gentrification in Stühlinger and elsewhere, and for a colourful and open city where everyone can live where they want and not only where the income allows. For a city where everyone can live the way they want, whether in apartments, castles or tree houses.
By filling Guntram 44, we want to send a clear signal to investors: what you are doing is an impossible situation. Because housing must become affordable again, luxury renovations are just as irresponsible as vacancy, and if the city does not act, then we will do it, then we will create housing.
What we need are self-managed houses and living spaces. On the ground floor of Guntram 44, a non-commercial cafe is being created, which invites you to meet and exchange ideas. The occupation is intended to create an open space for residents and interested parties to discussions and to develop alternatives.
A press conference will be held at 2 p.m. at Guntramstraße 44.