The theme of the documentary Push is gentrification, a now established term for the process by which a run-down neighbourhood is refurbished to become a residential area for higher incomes. Only a few years ago, 'gentrification' was still an abstract term. That has changed now. It is more topical than ever.
In the world's cities, people on low incomes are being pushed out of the city by high housing prices; they are getting 'the push'. UN Housing Rapporteur Leilani Farha warns against the price-raising effect of the housing market from investors.
"Cities have become a playground for the rich. They are inaccessible to low and middle income earners. Those are being pushed out of the city."
Documentary maker Fredrik Gertten follows Leilani Farha during her visit to cities such as Montevideo, Malmö, Toronto, Barcelona, London and Berlin. In every city a harrowing picture is shown. The last family in a dilapidated apartment building in Barcelona. In Stockholm, run-down neighbourhoods are being renovated, but the rent increases mean that the old residents cannot move back. Most impressive was the Grenfell Tower in Notting Hill which burned down in 2017, killing dozens of people. Many survivors still do not have a new home. A stark contrast to another neighbourhood in Notting Hill, which is not inhabited as the homes are traded by speculators. The area is unaffordable and therefore uninhabitable. The first squatters have already been spotted.
"Stones bring in more than gold."
Leilani Farha believes that the right to decent housing is a fundamental human right and is starting to lobby municipalities and government.
The aftertalk will be led by Tracy Metz. She is a journalist, author and presenter.
Wouter van Gent provides a substantive impetus to the discussion. He is Assistant Professor of Urban Geography at the University of Amsterdam. He explains the issues from his expertise and gives more colour to the Dutch situation.
The audience reacted to the documentary by telling about their personal experiences, the financial support for children when they buy a house (how else can you get them out of the house?), the expensive rental system in Amsterdam and a pithy reaction about the one-sided image that is portrayed in the documentary.
JBR is a sponsor of Club IDFA, which means, among other things, that we and our good relations are allowed to visit the festival every year. We are seated in the very comfortable Hall 2 of Pathé Tuschinski in Amsterdam.
Afterwards, the discussion in the VIP lounge continues over drinks and a delicious buffet dinner.
We enjoyed the involvement and the different points of view. We would like to thank everyone for attending.