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WPS No.20 | Hochstenbach, C. (2016) | The changing geography of tenure restructuring and state-led gentrification in Amsterdam

Governments in a wide range of contexts have long pursued policies of social mixing to disperse poverty concentrations, attract middle-class residents and manage disadvantaged neighborhoods. Drawing on the case of Amsterdam this chapter shows that the dominant instruments to facilitate social mixing have changed over time. The policy focus has shifted from large-scale urban renewal projects and the demolition of social-rental housing to the sale of existing social-rental dwellings. The changing nature of tenure restructuring is also expressed through a changing geography: while urban renewal concentrated in post-war neighborhoods where market processes spur downgrading, social-housing sales increasingly concentrate in inner-city neighborhoods where market processes are facilitated to spur gentrification.

These shifts need to be considered in the face of changing rationales for engaging in tenure mixing strategies. Dispersing poverty concentrations in disadvantaged neighborhoods remains an important objective, but has in more recent years become more explicitly accompanied by entrepreneurial and financial rationales to sell housing. Thus, this paper shows that questions of where, how, and why governments pursue tenure/social mixing policies are closely interrelated and are subject to change over time.

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