Conference paper - 'Spatial concentration - problem or opportunity?'

Conference paper on the socio-spatial concentration and integration of ethnical groups in the Netherlands.


9th Conference Graduation Lab - Master Programme Urbanism TU Delft


Best papers - 9th Conference Graduation Lab Urbanism

Full paper:

Abstract –

The number of non-Western migrants coming to the Netherlands will increase in the future, in fifteen years their share of the population will increase from 11 to 13 percent. The CBS expects that from 2015 there will be a constant influx of about 125,000 migrants per year (van den Broek et al., 2008). The largest groups of migrants are very strongly concentrated in the four big cities (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht and The Hague). At the same time these cities attract the new migrants, for they offer a high number of social rent housing, which is by far the main housing provider for these groups (Lindner, 2002). As a consequence the concentration of migrants in the neighbourhoods with a high number of social rent housing will increase. This ethnical concentration is perceived as a problem in the Netherlands (van Bruggen, 2000). By introducing mixing schemes in renewal plans for these areas, the current policy tries to break up this undesired concentration. However the policy merely focuses on an intervention in the housing stock. Through a physical mix of the housing offer they hope to automatically bring about a social mix of the different socio-economic groups in the neighbourhood (van Beckhoven and van Kempen, 2003). This social mix however does not occur naturally, if it occurs at all (Smets and den Uyl, 2008). The aim of this paper is to reflect on the current renewal policy and to advance the migration issue from different perspectives in order to make recommendations for a new direction in the urban renewal policy in the Netherlands. This recommendation I will use in my graduation project, since it will form the theoretical base for the regional strategy I will propose.

The current renewal policy originated from a fear of ghettofication of the neighbourhoods of concentration. This has steered the policy towards idealistic ideas of a mix of society on a neighbourhood level. Furthermore some cities apply a policy (Wet Bijzondere Maatregelen Grootstedelijke Problematiek) that allows them to deny access to housing in certain neighbourhoods to socio-economic weak groups (Ministerie van Justitie, 2005). In real practice this has become a municipal instrument to regulate the arrival of migrants in the city. This policy does however not consider the long term effects of this regulation and merely shifts the problem towards other (smaller and middle-sized) cities (Musterd and Ostendorf, 2009). A solution is needed for a more successful way of receiving and integrating the newcomers. The conclusion of this paper is that the urban renewal policy needs revision. The policy needs to include the trend of the growing migration and aim for a policy that understands the inter- and intra-ethnic dynamics (Smets and den Uyl, 2008). The studies that are addressed in this paper (Bolt et al., 2006: Nannestad et al., 2006: Marcuse, 1997) show us that spatial concentration can be a very positive and helpful tool in the process of social and spatial integration.

Key words – migration, socio-spatial integration, spatial concentration, ethnical segregation, urban renewal

Bibliography –

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