Stigmatized Homes and Communities. Gentrifiers’ and Non-Gentrifiers’ Struggle for a Liveable Neighbourhood in Amsterdam

Wednesday, 18 July 2018
Distributed Paper
Peer SMETS, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Today, much attention has been paid to the role of gentrifiers in ethnic-mixed neighbourhoods, but much lesser extent to non-gentrifiers. This paper will look at both groups in the Transvaal neighbourhood in Amsterdam East, the Netherlands. In the Transvaal neighbourhood, the combination of state-led gentrification and drug-related activities has stigmatized parts of the neighbourhood as a home of drug traders and users. To avoid decline in the housing values, the gentrifiers urge the local government and police to solve the drug-related problems; whereas, the non-gentrifiers of non-Western background often refrain to do so. These non-gentrifiers have their own strategies to improve the livability of the neighbourhood, which differ from the gentrifiers' way of reclaiming the public space. The drugs-related activities and police response to these activities have effectively polarized the interaction between different ethnic groups in the neighbourhood, which also reinforce the mechanism of exclusion. Apart from the disparity, one could also see that some gentrifiers succeed in bridging the different groups of residents. In sum, this qualitative study will highlight the inclusion and exclusion mechanism of different kind of communities in the built environment of the neighbourhood.