Over the past couple of months in Frankfurt, there's been a confrontational group to arise....Blockupy (pronounced blo-u-pie).
Frankfurt over the past twenty years has transformed itself. It's not the same Frankfurt that I was entertained with in the 1970s/1980s. All across the north end of the river....construction is going on at a high pitch, with new office buildings and skyscrapers appearing yearly now.
As many positive things as you can say about the new image of the city.....there's this off problem that has been noted over the past decade....affordable housing is crapped out in the city of Frankfurt. Older apartment buildings are being bought and renovated. As soon as renovation is done....there's a info sheet given to the tenets which usually details the fine work done and the new rental prices expected in six-to-twelve months, and it's usually more than a thirty-to-fifty percent rise.
Part of the problem here is that apartment building owners weren't exactly thinking renovation when they bought the investment properties thirty years ago. You can find lots of places that were built in the years after the war, and rarely were any renovations done except for the heating systems.
The city council has not really stepped into this mess to find some solution. They've encouraged new housing construction, but that usually has a rental cost situation which half of the population of the city are disturbed with. Your only real alternative is to find some place in towns outside of Frankfurt and transit into your job via the U-Bahn/S-Bahn.
So, this Wednesday....Blockupy is staging a traffic halt around Frankfurt. We aren't just talking cars, trucks and buses. They also intend to block trolley-car and subway movement. The chief target after blocking movement? The ECB (European Central Bank).....a structure about ten minutes walking from the central train station.
Why the ECB? Blockupy says that the ECB is part of the problem with Greece recovering from their economic crisis. Big money ordering people around, with no understanding of society.....that's the Blockupy theme.
A lot of this entire episode is about a "show"....simply drawing the media to film them in action, and then report it. Hostilities? I suspect that a lot of the Frankfurt population will be peeved and angry over delays. It's probably more of a HR-type episode.....to draw more interest and recruits for spring period demonstrations.
Fixing the housing issue? Frankly.....no. There's a transformation going on with most all major German cities. Where the government has gotten involved....it's usually to find property on the outskirts of town and build simple rental properties. What you can predict is that these are apartment buildings which will go for thirty to forty years with no renovation.....then repeat the same formula again....with new owners coming in with cash....renovating....and suddenly the public waking up to find rent went up fifty-percent again. It's a proven process and the government's solution simply repeats the same outcome each time.
Bottom line? Wednesday ought to be interesting with Blockupy and their stoppage of traffic in Frankfurt. As for solutions? Forget about Wednesday's value.