Anthropology

Basel in the spotlight: the city that learned to love LSD

Switzerland’s relatively permissive regulations around researching LSD have helped the renewed effort to understand its medical potential. New methods, including advanced brain scanners, also give unprecedented insights into its effects.

“LSD is a Baseler product,” said Matthias Liechti, a clinical pharmacologist at University Hospital Basel, who leads a research project on the effects of LSD on the human mind and body. “It’s tied to Basel’s history as a centre of pharmacology and innovation.” Sandoz, the chemicals company in whose labs Hofmann discovered LSD, has since merged with its rival, Ciba, to create the chemicals giant Novartis. In general the chemicals and pharma business has shaped urban life in Basel, most recently through the Novartis Campus, a $2.3bn research and development centre in the St Johann neighbourhood, with a centrepiece designed by Frank Gehry. The campus has attracted global talent, but some locals warn that an influx of wealthy newcomers is pushing up prices and crowding out poorer locals. What’s everyone talking about? Gentrification. “In Switzerland’s cities, entire neighbourhoods are changing: first they are cheap and attractive, then the new residents bring in more money, and in the end the existing population can hardly afford the rising rents,” wrote journalist Benjamin von Wyl. He sees Basel as a particularly striking example: the supply of available flats has shrunk by two-thirds since 2005 … He points out that while the area offers a bustling, interesting mix of students and expats, cheap housing for poorer families is under threat. Overall, rents in Basel have risen 15% over the past decade, pushing up the general cost of living – which is rising faster than anywhere else in Switzerland.​

Original Article (The Guardian):
Basel in the spotlight: the city that learned to love LSD
Artwork Fair Use: M.Strīķis

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