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.
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.
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.