State-Sponsored Gentrification or Social Regeneration?

Symbolic Politics and Neighborhood Intervention in an Amsterdam Working-Class Neighborhood

Authored by: Wouter van Gent , Willem Boterman , Myrte Hoekstra

The Routledge Handbook of Housing Policy and Planning

Print publication date:  July  2019
Online publication date:  July  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138188433
eBook ISBN: 9781315642338
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter discusses state interventions in Van der Pekbuurt (VDP-buurt), a low-income former working-class neighborhood in Amsterdam. We focus on “quarter making,” which refers to policymakers catering to middle-class preferences through social policies, initiatives, and service provision, in anticipation of in-moving middle-class residents as part of regeneration and gentrification strategies. Introducing and facilitating cultural entrepreneurs and artists in the representation of what the neighborhood is, and ought to be, helps to move the area toward the policymakers’ future vision. As such, these representations undermine the legitimacy of long-term residents’ efforts and interests. Interviews with long-term residents reveal that the changes in the neighborhood instill a sense of loss of place, exacerbated by cuts in local service provision. For these reasons, state intervention in VDP-buurt constitutes a “soft force” approach to state-sponsored gentrification.

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