impressum October - Issue 06
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Gentrified capital gains Text: Duncan Roberts — Illustration: Quentin Vijoux
Elections may be taking place in all 106 communes across the Grand Duchy on October 9, but all eyes will be on a few key cities and most especially the capital. Because, unlike in many other countries, local elections in Luxembourg are just that--about local issues--and are never used to voice protest against national government. The fight for control of the capital city is all the more interesting because the last elections, in 2005, brought the Green Party into coalition with the city’s dominant political force, the Democratic Party. Under the leadership of Paul Helminger and François Bausch, the administration has since embarked on a series of initiatives that have modernised the city and made life easier for many of its residents and for those who come to work in the city. But opposition parties, as well as a handful of social and cultural commentators, argue that the capital has been robbed of its soul. They
are opposed to any form of what they call the “gentrification” of the city, and they are not just talking about real estate but the general character of the city. Some 20 years ago the city was still probably what those commentators would prefer it to be, “d’Stad”. The influence of a multicultural, cosmopolitan population had not yet seeped into daily life. But it was culturally bankrupt and social life was, by international standards, provincial. It is now, for better or worse, a city competing for jobs on the international market. And to attract business the capital has to offer a standard of living comparable with the likes of Dublin, Frankfurt and London. It can now do so, albeit on its own terms, by offering residents comfort and security as well as varied social life and exciting cultural programmes. Call it gentrification, if you will, but we will take that over sleepy provincialism any day.
October 2011 - delano - 3
23.09.2011 10:05:17 Uhr