#94: Huge CSD, war witnesses, BerlKoenig, the 1872 tenant riots
Berlin is still cheap, say Berliners
Dear 20 Percenters,
I know, I know. City rankings make for annoying clickbait. Most liveable city. Greenest city. Blah blah blah. But this survey result by Timeout caught my attention: Out of 53 “global cities”, Berlin was perceived to be the cheapest by actual people living there.
These days, the social media noise about gentrification and lack of affordable housing is so loud, it’s refreshing to hear that a lot of Berliners feel they can afford to live here. While inflation has hit Berlin — it’s also slammed everywhere else. A weekend trip to any other large Western European city is proof enough that our beloved Berlin continues to be a bargain — especially when it comes to things like eating out. Based on my subjective experience, groceries also remain affordable compared to elsewhere.
On other questions, Berlin didn’t do so great in the survey: Berliners were also among the least likely to describe their city as “beautiful” or “friendly” and the most likely to call their fellow denizens “rude”.
In short, cheap but grumpy. Now tell us something we didn’t know.
More news below!
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The Berlin corona stats for Tuesday, July 26
Received booster: 62.9% (62.8% Friday)
New cases in one day: 3,866 (2,859 Friday)
Total deaths: 4,691 (+5 over Friday)
🔴 7-day Covid-19 incidence (cases per 100,000): 415.4 (445.4 Friday)
🔴7-day hospitalization incidence (also per 100,000): 14.5 (13.8 Friday)
🟡 Covid-19 ICU patient occupancy: 6.6% (6.3% Friday)
Source: Berlin’s corona page
Emergency services concentrating on more serious cases
The Berlin fire department will no longer send ambulances for minor annoyances (insomnia and simple bug bites have been mentioned by other media), according to RBB24, to help relieve the city-state’s constantly over-burdened Feuerwehr (fire department). The department made adjustments to its dispatching software and can now refer many non-emergency cases to the association of public insurance doctors (Kassenärztliche Vereinigung). Will the move work? Department officials in the past have said the minor cases weren’t the problem — a lack of equipment and personnel was.
The king is dead
Last week, without much fuss, saw the end of Berlin’s pioneering ride-sharing joint venture BerlKoenig. Despite its popularity (1.85 million passengers since its launch in 2018), the van service that operated shared taxis at cheaper prices than traditional taxis was simply not profitable enough to receive continued financial support from the Senat. Critics point out that Berlin still lacks innovative mobility services for outlying areas of Berlin with poor public transport coverage. Former venture partner Via will launch a similar service in eastern sections of Berlin, though a start date has not yet been announced.
After two years of pandemic cancellations and restrictions, hundreds of thousands took to the streets for CSD, Berlin’s pride march, on Saturday. The parade followed a 7km route along Leipziger Straße, over to Nollendorfplatz, then up to the Siegessäule and Brandenburg Gate. Police estimated that 350,000 people took part. The organisers spoke of 600,000. For the first time in history, a rainbow flag flew over the Reichstag, the seat of the Bundestag, the German parliament.
War crime witnesses wanted
The Berlin Police are asking Ukrainian refugees who witnessed war crimes in Ukraine to report evidence to support ongoing investigations by German law enforcement and the International Criminal Court. Police said evidence could include photographs or videos that show war crimes such as attacks on civilian facilities, torture, rape, abuse, the killing of civilians, looting, or obstruction of humanitarian aid. Witnesses can contact any police station. Those that come forward will be asked to complete a questionnaire, which is also available in Ukrainian, Russian and English. The police will forward testimonies to the relevant authorities. More info is available at the government site providing info to refugees in English, German, Ukrainian and Russian: Germany4Ukraine.
Berliners offer ocean plastic bank card
Berlin-based Sparda Bank says it is Europe’s first bank to offer bank cards made out of plastic retrieved from the ocean, according to a Facebook post by CEO Frank Kohler. The cards are produced from plastic collected in coastal regions by the New York environmentalist organisation Parley and its partners around the world.
On July 25, 1872 — a year after the German Empire was founded — a large-scale renters’ protest erupted spontaneously following a forced eviction in Blumenstraße in Friedrichshain. It took three days for the police and military to quash the riot. Berlin’s booming economy at the time resulted in a severe housing crisis. According to official statistics, 162,000 Berliners out of a population of 824,000 lived in overcrowded conditions.
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