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Ever Changing Berlin: Will There Be No RAW?


It's Friday night and I'm standing with a friend behind Cassiopeia in the RAW complex. The area is moving with the giddy promise of another weekend. Everybody from everywhere seems to be here tonight. What is mostly on the tip of their lips, apart from the beer and the just rolled ‘cigarettes’ is how great this city is. If you have lived here long enough, you would also likely add, that it is changing too fast.

Four years from now, there is a good chance that instead of these clubs and culture spots will be apartment blocks. This week the entire space that runs down Revaler Straße changed hands for the nice amount of 20 Million Euro. To assume that the new owners are interested in the preservation of what it currently is, is very unlikely.

My first clubbing experience here was four years ago - a fairly boozy night at Suicide Circus. Entering the RAW complex and some other experiences that weekend made me pack-up and move here. What I saw was the fact that Berlin - unlike most other cities I have seen or lived in, still had places with a cultural edge that you didn't have to scrape between the cracks to find.

Cities change, they have to. The housing shortage in Berlin is an obvious issue. As much of the world seems to want to live here, it is only going to get worse. But like Tempelhofer Feld, RAW is worth saving, even if it has moved a little too far towards the commercial side in its own right. Even though it is not exactly a family friendly green space. To lose it would be to lose an arm whilst this city is juggling its reputation and identity as Europe's cutting edge cultural Mecca.

But if RAW does disappear like some clubs/spaces are rumored to do so in the area, there will be areas that can pick up the slack. Whether it be in Wedding (the next best place to move, going on 10 years) or outside the S-Bhan in Neukölln. Berlin is resilient and tenacious, and it always has been. The fact that developers who have little to no idea what this city is made of, are investing in it, will not change that.

By Francis T. Spurling

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