In the last decade, investment managers rose to the most influential investor type in Amsterdam’s property market. Existing urban studies and urban planning literature, however, has surprisingly little to say about investment managers. In fact, urban studies and planning scholars rarely differentiate property investors.
The emergence of Covid-19 has had an unimaginable impact on city life, and Amsterdam is no exception. Especially in the first months of the ‘intelligent lockdown’ the city fell silent. Residents’ lives were rescaled to their homes and the local neighborhood, as schools, work places and urban amenities – from hair salons and cafes to museums and concert halls – closed. With the disappearance of the familiar hordes of visitors and commuters, the city center remained empty.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has been widely adopted by the property industry in recent years. The Global Financial Crisis (2008), Sustainable Development Goals (2016), and the Paris Agreement (2016) have all played a significant role in pushing CSR forward to improve the quality of life in cities. However, businesses have used CSR primarily to focus on environmental policies and organizational governance, leaving out the social dimensions of the concept and their effects on cities largely open for interpretation.
Although completing a PhD sounds like an ending, it is also the beginning of a new story. However, starting the next chapter is not very easy in the current academic field which is highly precarious and competitive for newly graduated PhDs.
The research network ILLICITIES explores the ways in which heterogeneous governance actors, including licit and illicit actors, co-produce cities. Provoked by Charles Tilly’s analogy of state-making and organized crime, we aim at a better understanding of the urban and material conditions of the crime/state-making nexus.
Brought to you by an enthusiastic group of podcasting newbies, The City Unfinished is a podcast experiment that brings together urban researchers and residents around the political practices, tensions and challenges shaping our cities today.
Hardly a day goes by without another dooming headline on property investors taking over our cities. Yes, we do live in the age of financialisation. And yes, financial motives have crept into our governing institutions. But the situation is extremely complex. Blaming one actor group in urban development is the easy way out, not a solution.
One could do worse than to listen to the songs of Bruce Springsteen to catch a glimpse of processes of urban transformation in the United States. He frequently painted moving and penetrating pictures of urban scenes. Like many other songwriters, he has explored inner landscapes of love, happiness, loneliness, abandonment and despair, but he also dealt with the world outside. He has sung about social divisions, racial strife, the plight of downtrodden groups as Vietnam veterans and undocumented migrants. He has, moreover, specifically addressed key urban studies themes such as street life, urban decay and deindustrialisation in his songs. Within the domain of popular music, his work stands out because of its recurrent explicit and rich depiction of urban landscapes in a highly productive career which now spans nearly five decades.
In June some five professors of the Centre for Urban Studies of the University of Amsterdam, teaching urban sociology, ethnic entrepreneurship, economic geography, urban geography and urban planning, had dinner with the Deputy Mayor of Amsterdam, Mr. van Poelgeest, at the Amsterdam Academic Club. Motto: The Republic of Amsterdam. The club is situated in the heart of the medieval city in an old historic building at one of the canals. The deputy mayor wanted to know whether he should focus on attracting business or spend his money on amenities and housing. In the light of the economic crisis, he told the social scientists, he had been keen on this, so they had to give him sound advice.
Under what conditions can urban activism generate opportunities for emancipatory collective action in cities governed by oligarchic political systems? Based on an empirical investigation of urban activism in Beirut (Lebanon) since 2006, and inspired by urban social movements’, urban politics’ and municipalism analytical frames (Nicholls et al. 2013; Nicholls and Uistermark 2017; Ozdemir and Eraydin 2017; Domaradzka and Wijkstrom 2016; Dikeç and Swyngedouw 2017), this blog argues that three elements determine the organization of collective action for emancipatory politics in cities.
How does urban governance evolve around and affect Recife's low income neighbourhoods or favelas? In this blog post, Martijn Koster argues that local community leaders play an important role in aligning the state and residents within the urban governance assemblage.
A long-term effort by the Dutch government has been to pursue an ambitious policy of ‘social mixing’ in various ‘disadvantaged’ former working class neighborhoods in different cities in the Netherlands. Government agencies, welfare organizations and housing corporations have been organizing and subsidizing activities in these neighborhoods aiming at regeneration, social mixing, and community building.
I’m sure most people among the millions who visit Amsterdam every year, do so to sit in cafés next to tranquil canals, party in extraordinary venues, view rich art collections, and do all those other things associated with the foreign experience of Amsterdam. On my recent visit, when I had the opportunity to meet students and professors of UvA, perhaps the most striking moment came unexpectedly, when visiting the Amsterdam Museum.
In 1982, on the occasion of her 40th birthday, my mother decided to undertake her first travel to Europe. A high school teacher and a middle-class mother, she had diligently saved money for this trip over the course of many years. India’s currency did not fare well in those days against the currencies of the West, but my mother was determined to balance this particular Third World-First World budget. Armed with frugality and determination, she signed up for a budget tour and made her way to the continent of her dreams.
Among the many things I appreciate about the Centre’s generous invitation to lecture in March was the locale of the lecture itself – the beautiful hall where the University itself began in 1632. As I reflected afterwards, it was the perfect setting for my talk, because, in a sense, the “urban revolution” I was describing began in that room and others like it.