The Rotterdam Act forbids certain groups of poor residents from moving into particular neighborhoods. This paper analyzes the rationales behind the Act and evaluates its effects.
How are we to understand the contemporary urban gender revolution? Are cities feminizing as a result of changing patterns of production and reproduction? Or are we to understand persistent gendered poverty and violence statistics as signs of continuing patriarchal arrangements? Is there a way of talking about these issues without reproducing the languages associated with the Global South – Global North divide?
The City of Amsterdam estimated, conservatively, that in 2015 over 150 international delegations of varying size came to Amsterdam to, generally, learn about Dutch cycling. With nearly half of all trips made by bike (depending on neighborhood), the city and region are deemed an inspiring example for others to follow.
Jane Jacobs is often celebrated as the Guru of today’s planning. Her approach to the city as a place for diversity – in uses, spaces, inhabitants, and buildings became enormously popular among planners across the world. In Amsterdam, planners are also deeply inspired by Jacobs perspective.
A blog by CUS Member Edda Bild where she states that we can understand how cities are being used, appropriated and negotiated by learning to listen and becoming more aware of the auditory environments we are embedded in.
The European Union (EU) is going through a tumultuous period: a Brexit referendum, EU-septic political parties on the rise, financial and economic crises, unemployment, large numbers of incoming asylum seekers, difficult relations with its largest neighbour Russia and an open conflict in Ukraine, a compromising deal on refugees’ rights with Turkey while the country moves towards authoritarianism, etcetera. Meanwhile in Amsterdam, the Member states will sign the Pact of Amsterdam, the formal acknowledgement of the role of cities in the convoluted architecture of the governance of the European Union. A major milestone.
A multicolored patchwork, that’s what the electoral map of Europe looks like. In a study published by World Policy Journal, I made a composition of all the political maps of the European countries together. This offers an intriguing insight in the different religiosities, class-differences, rivalries and lifestyles that are present. One of the main factors shaping this electoral geography is the divide between the urban, suburban and rural.
There is a slice of Holland in the heart of Saint Petersburg. When Czar Peter returned from Zaandam in 1698 after learning, incognito, shipbuilding (he trained as a carpenter), he applied the new skill to building Russia’s own fleet as he ventured to also build a new imperial capital. Shipyards were laid out on an island formed by a small river and two manmade canals. The resulting terrain so much reminded him of Zaandam, that the Czar named it, without much thought, ‘New Holland’. The name stuck and the area stood as a reminder of Peter’s ‘other’ revered country.
Amsterdam inner city, 2015. Households buying a plot of land and building their own dwellings, with gardens and work space. A network of about 50 people gets together with an architect and design their own block, perhaps including a small theater and few socially rented houses. Another group of neighbors decides instead to produce, use and store its own energy, building solar panels and their own in-house grid for waste water filtering. At the same time, a group of creatives finds out that there is a little piece of land in the city and propose a project of cultural use of the land, perhaps adding a café, selling local beers, and using food which is partially grown on the spot.
Across many different urban contexts, young people are currently faced with increasing constraints on the housing market. Inflating housing prices and stricter mortgage lending criteria render homeownership out of reach for more and more young people who, increasingly dependent on temporary employment contracts, are unable to acquire a mortgage at all. It has frequently been highlighted that parental support, in both financial and non-financial ways, may improve young people’s housing market position. Parents may help to buy a place for their offspring or cover (part of) their rental costs.
Ordos is China's most famous ghost city. Redesignated as a prefecture-level city in 2001, by 2010 it was hitting media headlines all over the world for its emptiness: an emptiness that gave its few thousand residents access to all the wonderful things cities are able to offer within unprecedented amounts of space. Ordos is, in many ways, the antidote to the experience of living in most contemporary Chinese cities which are overwhelmed with people, cars and pollution. The city has built an abundant array of cultural institutions – libraries, art galleries, museums, theatres – yet lacks people to appreciate them.
Some years ago my husband and I made a hiking tour along Glyndwr’s Way in the Cambrian mountains in Wales. In the Mid Wales Inn in Pant Y Dwr we met a couple of around 70 years old. The couple moved from Birmingham to this small village in a remote, idyllic rural area after their retirement: a typical example of retirement migration. We told them that we live in Amsterdam for more than 30 years, that we like to make hiking tours in remote rural areas, but love Amsterdam and couldn’t think of moving to another place. The man remarked: “Oh, yes, we loved to live in the city and before retirement we couldn’t imagine that we would leave the city and move to Pant Y Dwr. However, Birmingham is a city for young people and we felt more and more out of place.”
In the recent past many cities have embarked on mega-projects as part of their neoliberal development strategy. While many of the best known urban mega projects in the global south, e.g. those related to the Fifa World Championship in South Africa and Brazil, or London’s Docklands, are located in very large cities, mega projects are by no means exclusive to such cities. Small cities with similar ambitions and attractiveness for financial investment, boost their own mega projects.
The superrich are probably more visible in Hong Kong than Amsterdam, and probably richer. Hong Kong does superrichness better than most cities. But there is a pervasive concern with the impact of expanding economic elites on urban life and urban morphologies. There is growing resentment about widening income and wealth inequalities, most evident in major world cities.
Almere is becoming international more rapidly than Amsterdam. The past few years one out of four new inhabitants that moved to Almere came from abroad, departing from more than 100 countries. Currently almost 40% of its total population has some familial connection originating from outside the Netherlands. The town’s demographics continue to diversify but the population has not been increasing for a while. In contrast, Amsterdam is most popular lately and these last few years the city has seen its largest population increases since WWII. At the same time, the number of native Dutch who have been moving to the capital since 2011 is steadily increasing; very many newcomers to the city are white, native, middle- and upper-class parents, traditionally expected to suburbanise. Where is then the 1970s Dutch dream of the family house, the picket fence, the garden and the garage?
‘Big data’ has become one of those buzzwords we can’t escape in the urban field these days. There is a whole new industry of big data analytics companies, selling their services to cities that want to be seen as ‘smart’, promising insights that will lead to more efficient or effective services. In academia, the terms ‘big data’ and ‘smart cities’ are dominating funding calls and research initiatives.