Gentrification and urban design in the urban fabric of Rotterdam

Paul Stouten, Delft University of Technology

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Abstract: In the last decade, urban regeneration, as a combination of urban design and gentrification, has been established in many districts of the city of Rotterdam. The transformation from industrial to post-industrial urban economy concerned neighbourhoods enclosed by former port areas that changed into residential areas and urban facilities. The peninsula, Katendrecht, is part of place-making for new markets of new population groups and requires supporting facilities for flagship projects. This reflects the more general landscape of European urban regeneration. Central and local government and housing associations are aiming to reduce the share of social housing and increase the market sector in collaboration with private developers. Gentrification is launched as an instrument for creating new human urban environments, tackling violence and addressing problems of low quality of life. Although the gentrification strategy results in greater safety and lower crime rates, by contrast socio-spatial divisions occur between the old neighbourhoods and the newly built housing projects. The plans for providing a new human environment, driven by state-led gentrification, will reinforce these socio-spatial divisions.


Keywords: urban design; gentrification; urban regeneration; human urban environments; planning strategies


Paul Stouten works at the Delft University of Technology. He has published books and films about urban regeneration and urban development and contributed to international journals. He is involved in the Masters programme of urbanism on urban regeneration, strategic planning, socio-spatial processes related to urban design, sustainability and feasibility studies. In addition he has lectured at several universities and has held the posts of visiting professor and external examiner. He has also participated in practical urban renewal projects involving residents.

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