Düsseldorf has two famous streets known far beyond the city limits. Königsallee, or better known as KÖ – downtown shopping mile and strolling promenade for the rich and pretty folks – and Kiefernstraße, the counterpart of everything the KÖ stands for.
Already in the 1980ies in Düsseldorf the lack of affordable housing was a problem and when plans to demolish the houses at Kiefernstraße and create an industrial estate on the site came to light, the houses were squatted immediately. After many years of controversy, including police raids, Düsseldorf re-thought the city planning and the squatters were legalized to tenants. Today Kiefernstraße is home for people from 40 nations. The odd-numbered side of the street, where the former squatters still mainly live, are mostly painted with murals reflecting the spirit of the residents living there. But nowadays, on top of that, the problem of affordable housing is more actual than ever before. Plans of developing the property between Erkrather Straße and Kiefernstraße, which actually is used as car park for the surrounding buisiness park, with two new hotels and a number of micro-appartments, drive the residents of good old Kiefernstraße up the wall. They have a lot against those plans and again come to action. There is still time to stop the project. Please sign their petition, as I did when I was at Kiefernstraße last week and found the paste-up of a little girl with butterflys at AK47, legendary punk club at Kiefernstraße 23, designed by the French street artist POLARBEAR.
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