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.
It was a great pleasure to present my research on China’s urban transformation at the Centre for Urban Studies in February this year. At the presentation I tried to theorize the intertwined relationship between urban building and state building. I called this dynamism “urbanization of the state.” During the Q&A, I was asked how I would generalize the Chinese urban experiences. This million-dollar question could be approached from various directions.
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.