I was strolling through Leipzig with friends recently and was astounded that many buildings have never been renovated or refurbished after the peaceful revolution in 1989. In the area we were passing through most houses just continued to rot as they did before the wall came down. And many of the shops were abandoned. In fact the one on top was really closed, the one down below, the “Hinz und Kunz” apparently is still open.
As with many things there is no black and white story here since for many affordable apartments are an issue in growing cities like Leipzig (or Dresden or Berlin) in former East-Germany. As pleasing as it may be for our eyes and taste to see nicely renovated apartment buildings, they come at a cost: people of lower income have to move out of their quarters they perhaps have grown up in and will now have to move into other parts of the city that are considerably cheaper. Mostly these are satellite suburbs which now collect all the low income people which leads to an unhealthy homogeneity let alone that many old people you just shouldn’t move at all since they will never really find new roots again.