In this chapter, I look at a particular Plattenbauten neighborhood on the southeastern outskirts of Berlin where I conducted fieldwork in order to understand the significance that such urban residential settings more broadly have acquired in Germany. For the historical context that permits Grass to effectively invoke such a neighborhood as a literary device for generating temporal and geographical distance from the unspeakable includes the illicit cultural meanings with which the entire class of such residential environments has been invested. At the same time, certain particular places have come to stand as paradigmatic tokens of this general type, condensing and throwing into sharp relief the underside of a supposedly rejuvenated nation. Such places have emerged within the German geographical imaginary as special locations through which recent processes of social decline
have been narrated. Operating as elsewheres and elsewhens (Pred 2000), they appear foreign to the national present.