City Explo[it | r]ation – Nürnberg Gostenhof

On our last walk Sugar Ray Banister and I visited Nürnberg Gostenhof. This area is rather artsy and there is a lot of social tension in this area. In particular there seem to be some gentrification issues; however a close look will reveal that there is barely any gentrification in the classical sense of displacement happening. Mostly unused areas are turned into new (higher income) living space. But this is far away from gentrification issues as for example in Berlin. A slightly zynical observer might even concur that Nürnberg wants to “observe” gentrification in order to be at par with the big cities. But in fact it is just not. I will show you some of the tension, the art, and the fights against the wrong people.

The map below shows the Nürnberg Gostenhof area.

We started our walk the at famous advertising pillar in Gostenhof. In fact this pillar even has its own facebook page and is called “die schönste Litfaßsäule” (the most beautiful advertising pillar) – I suppose that there are not too many pillars having their own facebook page. The idea behind the concept is that the pillar serves as a trading point. Whenever you do not need something you just put it there and if you found something you are interested in, you just take it.

We continued walking the more “artsy” part and found shoes on several of the power lines for the street lights…

… as you can see, not just an isolated event…

We continued walking and then something unexpected happened. We found some indications of urban knitting or yarn bombing. While this is pretty standard in many other cities around the world (see wikipedia or flickr for many more examples) Nürnberg seemed to be behind this trend. The only other incident of urban knitting I know of is by word of mouth from Sugar Ray Banister in front of a wool store – consider it advertising. Check out his post on the topic with some additional photos of knittings in Nürnberg.

I was intrigued by the building below due to the three differently colored stripes of tiles. In the old days you could buy ice cream here, however it has been abandoned for years and while this would definitely be a prime location for some art studio it is still unused.

We passed the old Volksbad, a beautfil Jugendstilbad in Nürnberg (art noveau-style swimming pool), that is abandoned as well as the city does not want to allocate the cash to fix it. Many other cities in Germany (e.g., Darmstadt) have put theirs back into service after some renovations. In the same building as the Volksbad is the Hemdendienst, a bar/club that moves around the city in order to stay in run down or abandoned locations.

as we entered the deeper parts of Gostenhof, we found a lot of colorful graffitis and curiosities such as this bath tub that had been used for flowers.

So far one might think that Gostenhof is all art and fun and the many artist workshops support this impression. One particularly interesting studio was the Armer Teufel workshop that you can see below – check out their facebook page

… and here you can see the outside of the workshop.

However it turns out that there is a completely different side to Gostenhof. As we walked away from the artsy parts, the style and the message of the graffitis started to change. The first one below says “clean city? fuck”.

and this one states something like “not interest in big wigs”… that is when it became clear that people here were actually scared the (upper) middle class that started to slowly occupy space.

and it became definite when we saw bags of color paint thrown at newly built houses…

… one of the owners saw us taking pictures and approached us. He told us his story and it was quite sad to hear. This was not the first incident of color bags thrown and not everybody was insured against vandalism. The actual damage is quite substantial…

We then saw this amazing house. It was tiny and isolated.

In the next picture, the blue sign is the German one-way street sign and it quite precisely captures the atmosphere of the area: a one-way street for many.

and the last two stress the the contrast of the area even more. In the first one, the sign states that it is the “entrace to the mansion”…

… whereas this one is quite the opposite.

More shots, as usual, in the gallery:

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28 thoughts on “City Explo[it | r]ation – Nürnberg Gostenhof

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  19. Of course, Nuernberg is half a million inhabitants and , for example, Berlin is more than 3 Million people living there. But gentrification means, that there is a change in the social mixture. This happens slowly, but it happens in Gostenhof. I live there for more than 50 years and i realize it since 25 years, Doesn´t matter, if it´s good or not, but it happens! And I still don´t understand the people living here and negating it.
    Greetings to Atlanta
    P.S.: Maybe you want to look at my current fotos:

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