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Tenure Mix against the Background of Social Polarization. Social Mixing of Moroccan-Dutch and Native-Born Dutch in Amsterdam East

Social Housing and Urban Renewal

ISBN: 978-1-78714-125-4, eISBN: 978-1-78714-124-7

Publication date: 7 August 2017



This chapter aims at providing insight into how social mixing plays out in the Transvaal neighborhood in Amsterdam — a neighborhood which has gone through various rounds of urban renewal — in the context of nationwide polarization between native-Dutch and Moroccan-Dutch.


This chapter is based on research with a neighborhood focus — daily interactions, urban renewal, and use of public space — which took place during 2007–2010. Methods used include participant observation, semistructured interviews, and focus groups.


The physical renewal implies renovating and pulling down social housing, and building new social or owner-occupier housing. This study provides insight into how residents of different ethnic and income backgrounds live together in the neighborhood, also taking into account the impact of social polarization at the national level.

Social implications

By knowing how people with different ethnic and class backgrounds live together in Transvaal neighborhood, it contributes to the formulation of evidence-based policies for the improvement of social cohesion, livability, safety of the neighborhood, and social capital of local residents.


This study looks at social mix in the context of national-level social polarization between native-Dutch and Moroccan-Dutch. This creates a new viewpoint seen against how the general literature on renewal and social mixing tends to do two things: firstly it usually explicitly or implicitly is also a tenure mix strategy, and secondly the policy focus of the social mix is usually around class issues, that is, the mixing of poor social housing tenants with richer owners.




Apart from my own research material, I have made use of interviews data from Marloes Dirkx who did Masters’ research on the interaction between native-born and Moroccan-Dutch in 2008. Thanks are also due to Sawitri Saharso, Hillary Silver, and Paul Watt for commenting on earlier versions of this chapter.


Smets, P. (2017), "Tenure Mix against the Background of Social Polarization. Social Mixing of Moroccan-Dutch and Native-Born Dutch in Amsterdam East", Watt, P. and Smets, P. (Ed.) Social Housing and Urban Renewal, Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 215-252.



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