Neoliberalism and segregation. A comparative sociology of urban renewal in Amsterdam and Rotterdam
02 / 2013 - 02 / 2016
This research project investigates the modalities and effects of urban renewal in the Netherlands. The main research question is: how and why did urban renewal policies affect (reinforce or attenuate) patterns of income segregation in cities since 1995? To answer this question, the research project undertakes several steps. First, it develops a relational approach to map and explain state transformation. In particular, the concept of spatial selectivity captures how the government and its partners invest in some areas instead of others. Second, it constructs a database of policy interventions in the field of urban renewal that operationalizes the concept of spatial selectivity and allows an analysis of the changing and geographically uneven forms of urban renewal. Third, the project constructs a database that allows the measurement of (changing) patterns of segregation. Fourth, the project undertakes interviews with key informants and analyzes the documentation on urban renewal plans to identify the mechanisms behind the spatial selectivity of the state and patterns of segregation. Anticipating that the urban renewal policies and their effects may be different between periods and cities, the project includes both a geographical and historical dimension. A comparison is made between Amsterdam and Rotterdam to gauge renewal in respectively a booming city region with a tight housing market and a bust city region with a relaxed housing market. The project furthermore distinguishes between urban renewal before and after the economic crisis of 2008. The overall goal is to examine the changing selectivity of the state by looking at the causes and effects of decisions related to urban renewal. Using such a comparative and multi-method approach not only provides insights into the dynamics of urban development in the Netherlands' two largest cities but also enables us to understand state transformations and their effects on the city's socio-spatial fabric.