This article illustrates the views of those for and against the construction of an Ikea complex to replace the dying Grosse Bergstrasse shopping center in Hamburg’s Altona district. Those in favor of the multicultural company believe that the revenue and jobs provided by Ikea would breathe new life into the neighborhood. Those against the developments state that building the store will greatly increase foot traffic and speed up gentrification of the area.
Building a multicultural superstore in a low-income region can feel like an attack on the culture of the area. Having witnessed the spawning of WalMart, this reader can relate to the artists who wish to reduce the influx of shoppers to their neighborhood – maintaining an artistic haven. Also, if the neighborhood begins to appreciate in value, the original residents would no longer be able to afford to live there. However, Ikea would provide the Altona district with 250 more jobs and a spike in revenue, which is exactly what the struggling neighborhood needs. Impressively, Ikea is willing to work with the Hamburg natives to construct a building that respects their spacial limitations and gentrification fears. Overall, turning the old Grosse Bergstrasse into a thriving store is a natural progression of events, and is most likely the best decision for the neighborhood.