Joppes & Feddes: Suburbanization to Gentrification

Myles Franklin | June 2, 2021

This post will be focusing on Amsterdam’s transition from suburbanization following World War II to gentrification today. Joppes focuses on everyday life on the ground in Amsterdam during the present and past, so he emphasizes the troubles of gentrification in Amsterdam today. Through Feddes’ writings of historical facts and details, we can come to understand how this gentrification came to be. Following World War II, Amsterdam faced a housing shortage. To make up for this shortage of housing, the city began to build suburban neighborhoods outside of the city as part of its growth core policy. This resulted in Amsterdam’s middle and upper-class residents moving out of the city to the suburbs. As wealth was drained from the city through suburbanization, Amsterdam began to struggle with its image and culture in the 1980s. As a result, Amsterdam has been working on urban rehabilitation over the last few decades to clean its image and bring prosperity back to the city. Today, Amsterdam faces issues of gentrification as middle-class and upper-class citizens return to the city. Suburbanization left a wealth vacuum in Amsterdam that created the perfect opportunity for today’s gentrification. Now, the cities lower-class residents are being forced to relocate as the cost of livings rises. This issue bring up several questions on economic sustainability and social sustainability.

1. Is economic sustainability possible without a suffering lower-class? How does Amsterdam’s lower class fare compared to the middle class?

2. For a country or city to be sustainable, is it best for certain social groups to remain separated? To what degree are Amsterdam’s various groups by socioeconomic, race, etc. intermixed?

3. How does Amsterdam ensure that lower and middle-class earnings are on pace with rising cost of living?

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