International Society of Political Psychology

Conference Abstracts

Inequality in urban development: organized resistance against state induced urban renewal in Berlin

Christine Barwick, Humboldt University Berlin

Conference: ISPP 2011
Affiliation: Humboldt University Berlin
Research Area: Social inequality and social change

In Istanbul neighborhoods, such as Sulukele, the local and national state intervene to renew these areas. Thereby, little attention is paid to the actual population living in these neighborhoods, which is in the case of Sulukele mostly Roma population. People are displaced, and often do not get any compensation. Rather on the contrary, state help is basically inexistent, people should simply leave their homes.
Interestingly, urban development in Berlin has been just like that – just forty years ago. The state started developing land and simply displaced people – usually in other areas that were to be developed sooner or later as well. Moreover, these people often were  foreigners, and/or socioeconomically weak. After a certain time, however, people living in the affected areas started to organize against this reckless urban development. One popular means of resistance was the bordering of houses. This forced the policy makers to start cooperating with the population. The result was the so called ‘careful urban development’, which was not able to entirely avoid displacement, but it was drastically reduced.
In light of the similar starting points, I will present parallels and differences in urban renewal between Berlin and Istanbul. Can the situation be compared so that there is prospect for a lasting impact of residents’ resistance? Or are there too many differences so that another approach has to be followed in order to protect the rights of the population? If so, how would such an approach has to look like?