IGU Urban Commission, Tel Aviv, 2010
AISSR (Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research), University of Amsterdam, Netherlands
Repairing disadvantaged neighbourhoods in the Netherlands, assumptions and research findings
In The Netherlands the policy of Urban Restructuring is meant to change the population profile of disadvantaged neighbourhoods by making the housing stock of the neighbourhood more diverse. Recently this policy is intensified with the introduction of 40 so called Vogelaarwijken, 40 of the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods in Dutch cities, where an additional effort is made to upgrade the area. Cheap housing is replaced by more expensive housing for middle class population. In particular the presence of middleclass population is seen as the solution for the poor population of the neighbourhood, because the examples that middle class people will provide are seen as an effective help for lower class people in achieving upward social mobility. In fact, this policy is based on a set of assumptions not supported by a matching research program. In this paper seven assumptions are identified and confronted with findings of research. All seven assumptions appear to be invalid for the situation of the 40 Vogelaarwijken in Dutch cities. So, the idea that the social composition of the neighbourhood will help to solve problems of individual poverty in the situation of Dutch cities is wrong. The Dutch welfare state has already accomplished a considerable quality in residential environments. Repairing individual shortcomings with respect to education and employment is more important than repairing deficiencies in the residential environment. This leads to the conclusion that, for the sake of success, large policy-interventions need a program of research to find out if the assumptions are supported by empirical findings.