Accepted paper:

Inclusion or exclusion: gentrification in the Netherlands

Authors:

Karin Peters (Wageningen University)

Paper short abstract:

Gentrification processes are often seen as contributing to the socio-economic improvement of a neighbourhood, but simultaneously decrease diversity. Based on interviews with native and non-native Dutch residents as well as professionals, I argue that the loss of positive diversity due to gentrification can be stopped.

Paper long abstract:

Gentrification processes are often seen as contributing to the socio-economic improvement of a neighbourhood, but simultaneously decrease diversity, resulting in the homogenization of residents in inner city neighbourhoods. Migrants, as one branch of diversity in a neighbourhood, may be adversely affected because they are also often overrepresented in a lower socio-economic classes which might be pushed out by gentrification. For many communities, 'diversity' is a problematic keyword, that can be a valuable resource or a source of tensions. Using the example of Lombok, located in Utrecht, NL, this paper discusses strategies of diversification in an atmosphere of gentrification. Based on interviews with native and non-native Dutch residents as well as professionals, I argue that the loss of positive diversity due to gentrification can be stopped both by residents as well as by policymakers. Lombok is known and perceived as a diverse neighbourhood, inhabited by a mixed population in terms of socio-economic classes, age and ethnicity. Resident organizations, housing cooperatives and NGOs working with the municipality have initiated a number of measures to change the dynamics of gentrification to promote diversity. Respondents perceive these initiatives as positive expressions of diversity on a local level. Specifically, by stimulating a collective memory, celebrating diversity and improving the quality of public spaces, original and new residents are involved in the neighbourhood in a positive way. These initiatives have resulted in increased acceptance of and even appreciation of diversity from residents of various socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds.

panel W078
Urban renewal, uncertainty and exclusion (EN)