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Amsterdam Human Capital

Amsterdam Human Capital

Sako Musterd
Willem Salet
Copyright Date: 2003
Pages: 400
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  • Book Info
    Amsterdam Human Capital
    Book Description:

    The familiar shape of western cities is changing dramatically. For long times the urban core was taken for granted as the focal point for international contacts and day-to-day activities in the region. Currently, the urban scope is transforming into multi centred forms at metropolitan scale. The transition is not just a matter of spatial form, it is reflecting social, economic and cultural processes. The question is what new identities may develop in such changing historical conditions of space and place. The book is a first attempt to analyse the process of urban transformation in an integral way. The focus is on the region of Amsterdam. All contributions are written by senior researchers of the Amsterdam studycentre for the Metropolitan Environment (AME). AME is the interdisciplinary urban research institute of the Universiteit van Amsterdam. As the urban research institute at the Universiteit van Amsterdam, the Amsterdam studycentre for the Metropolitan Environment (AME) analyses the economic, social and cultural aspects of this spatial transformation, usually in international comparative research. All contributions to this book are written by senior researchers of AME in an attempt to analyse in an integral way the present and future dilemmas out of the historical growth paths of this dynamic city. This title is available in the OAPEN Library -

    eISBN: 978-90-485-0518-0
    Subjects: History, Sociology, Economics

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-4)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 5-8)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. 9-10)
    The editors

    Amsterdam is undergoing a process of gradual but profound urban transformation.

    As an important node of national and international culture and trade, Amsterdam’s inner city is arguably the most urban of Dutch city centers. This area contained the highest concentrations of specialized professional skills and economic expertise, was the leading center of culture and education, and the cradle of multicultural cosmopolitanism in the Netherlands. Although this convergence of urban qualities can still be found in the inner city (i.e. it has retained its vitality), the actual meaning of urbanism or “urbanity” no longer coincides with this particular area. Over the...


    • 1.1 The Emergence of the Regional City Spatial Configuration and Institutional Dynamics
      (pp. 13-28)
      Sako Musterd and Willem Salet

      During its long history Amsterdam has developed into a city on a human scale, whose dynamism and vitality are due to the various colors of its inhabitants and those passing through. Given the make-up of its population and its cultural diversity it is more accurate to describe Amsterdam as an international center of “subculture” than a center of “distinction.” Remarkably, the historic city center, which with its extensive system of canals is going to be nominated as one of the major inner-city “monuments of cultural heritage” on UNESCO’s world list, has somehow never been turned into a museum. The city...


    • 2.1 Amsterdam as the “Compleat Citie” A City Plan Read in Five Episodes
      (pp. 31-48)
      Geert Mak

      Amsterdam is an eternal battle between man and nature. Not the nature of spectacular rock formations, wild rivers or the furious sea, but the dullest nature there is: sucking, sopping mud. In fact, Amsterdam was built, and still stands, in the middle of a peat bog. In the Middle Ages, its people were repeatedly able to put off building a city wall because the treachery of the surrounding land plus a couple of cannons along the supply routes were regarded as a sufficient deterrent against any attack. To this day, civil engineers are constrained in their ability to realize their...

    • 2.2 Between Civic Pride and Mass Society Amsterdam in Retrospect
      (pp. 49-66)
      Michiel Wagenaar

      In the second half of the nineteenth century, Paris became the role model for European capitals. Many cities followed its example. Amsterdammers – who were equally impressed by the monumental townscape of the French capital – did not succeed in emulating Paris, mainly because of political, legal, and financial reasons. Laissez-faire politics and the consequent absence of public interventions in its townscape were compensated for by an outburst of civic pride between 1870 and 1914, providing Amsterdam with the facilities that still ensure its leading role as a cultural and intellectual center. In 1918, Amsterdam and the Netherlands adopted a...

    • 2.3 The Historical Roots of the Daily Urban System
      (pp. 67-84)
      Henk Schmal

      During the second half of the 19th century, urban activities became ever more independent from the urban area and became dispersed over a large, traditionally rural area surrounding the city. The acceleration in the development of the residential elements of this process is usually attributed to factors such as a poor quality of life in the cities, rising affluence and substantially improved transportation connections. In Amsterdam, the affluent were the first group in a position to leave the city and did so in rising numbers that were disconcerting to municipal authorities. City council member and President of the Amsterdamsche Bank,...

    • 2.4 The Economic Restructuring of the Historic City Center
      (pp. 85-102)
      Pieter Terhorst and Jacques van de Ven

      Since the end of World War II Amsterdam’s historic city center has undergone two distinct rounds of urban restructuring. First came the decline in population, manufacturing industries, trade and transportation, which was accompanied by the growth of producer and consumer services that are associated with a classic central business district (CBD). Partly this process involved a restructuring of the built environment and partly it came about within the existing building stock. The second, ongoing round, which started during the late 1960s, saw the decline of traditional producer services while the tourism and leisure industries, specialized shops, and the general population...


    • A. The Economic, Infrastructural and Environmental Dilemmas of Spatial Development

      • 3.1 The Randstad: The Creation of a Metropolitan Economy
        (pp. 105-126)
        Pieter Tordoir

        In this chapter, I will discuss the future scenarios for the spatial and economic development of the Randstad (the highly urbanized western part of the Netherlands). During the past 50 years, this region of six million inhabitants, four major urban centers and 20 medium-sized cities within an area the size of the Ile de France evolved into an increasingly undifferentiated patchwork of daily urban systems, structured by the sprawl of business and new towns along highway axes. There is increasing pressure from high economic and population growth and congestion, particularly in the northern wing of the Randstad, which includes the...

      • 3.2 Transport and Land Use Concepts for the Emerging Urban Region
        (pp. 127-142)
        Luca Bertolini, Frank le Clercq and Loek Kapoen

        The Amsterdam region is evolving into a polycentric system, where urban functions are distributed among several connected centers. The central question in this paper is how can future developments in the transportation systems help lead this evolution along the desired ‘multimodal’ and ‘multicentric’ path? First we will characterize and interpret the emergence of a polycentric Amsterdam, particularly from the point of view of the relationship between the development of transportation systems and the development of urban structure. Then – after clarifying what and why we consider the desired evolution path – we will show how certain configurations of the transportation...

      • 3.3 Utilities as Tools for Shaping the City Waste Management and Power Supply
        (pp. 143-162)
        Maarten Wolsink

        Large, complex networks provide goods and services. Today, these networks fully cover the industrialized countries, even though they started out as local networks in cities. Utilities provide some of the goods and services that serve the basic needs of households and commerce. For example, electricity supply and drinking water are usually referred to as utility sectors. In terms of economic analysis, these functions used to be regarded as “natural monopolies” and therefore were run as public services. Besides these natural monopolies, some other services were for a very long time also provided by utilities. Public utilities were also found in...

      • 3.4 Regional Greenbelts and the Problem of Institutional Fragmentation
        (pp. 163-180)
        Marijke van Schendelen

        The flourishing economy of the Amsterdam region has caused enormous pressure on the land market. Both the city and its extended region are attracting large numbers of new people and businesses. Old residential areas are being restructured and dilapidated industrial sites are being renovated. Open space in the city is under pressure. And rural areas surrounding the city are being targeted as locations for new housing projects, industrial zones, and other urban functions. Infrastructure is encroaching on the open landscape in the form of new regional links. In the Amsterdam region, the potential offered by rural areas seems to be...

    • B. The Social Dilemmas of Spatial Development

      • 3.5 Understanding Segregation in the Metropolitan Area of Amsterdam
        (pp. 181-198)
        Sako Musterd and Wim Ostendorf

        A few years ago, in a paper entitled “The changing distribution of incomes in Dutch cities: myth and reality” (Musterd and Ostendorf 1998) we analyzed the development of segregation within the city of Amsterdam and – in a second phase – also analyzed the segregation between Amsterdam and the remaining part of the metropolitan area. We dealt with several dimensions of segregation. Among our findings:

        – Segregation with respect to income is lower than with respect to ethnicity and even with respect to age; this holds true within Amsterdam as well as between Amsterdam and the remaining part of the...

      • 3.6 The Metropolitan Population Origin and Mobility
        (pp. 199-216)
        Cees Cortie

        Like all cities with a wealth of international relations, Amsterdam attracts people every year from all corners of the world in search of an existence and a suitable place to live. They come from very different origins and consequently differ with respect to their opportunities and needs. Japanese and German managers seconded by their firms for a few years and refugees from Somalia and spouses from Morocco are all seeking a place in the Amsterdam arena. In addition, young Dutch people move here to complete their educations and find their first jobs, partners and homes. Amsterdam is thus a specific...

      • 3.7 Amsterdam Human Capital: What About Children?
        (pp. 217-228)
        Lia Karsten

        In this book about Amsterdam and its inhabitants, spatial developments, social problems, and political issues it is logical, necessary and interesting to also pay attention to the position of its youngest citizens. Children make up a considerable part of Amsterdam’s population. Their numbers certainly justify some attention. In addition, the study of children’s geographies is a further step in the development of the geography of households (Vijgen and Van Engelsdorp Gastelaars 1992). Households cannot be considered as homogenous boxes. The processes of emancipation contribute to the recognition of the different positions of men and women, and adults and youngsters in...

      • 3.8 Public Space and the Homeless in Amsterdam
        (pp. 229-246)
        Leon Deben

        My research among residents of urban renewal areas, urban nomads, squatters, houseboat and caravan dwellers, and the homeless in Amsterdam began over thirty years ago. It was the end of the sixties, the era of grandiose plans for city-making and radical solutions to traffic problems. The city center was going to be opened up to provide space for shops and offices; living there was passé. The notion that society was something of our own making was at its height. There were no homeless people. And if there were, the director of the shelter knew them from thevagrancy list, and...

    • C. The Political and Institutional Dilemmas of Spatial Development

      • 3.9 Voting in an Old and a New Town
        (pp. 247-268)
        Rinus Deurloo, Sjoerd de Vos and Herman van der Wusten

        This paper compares the political preferences of the inhabitants of Amsterdam and Almere as they show up in four elections in 1994 and 1998. The sensational elections during 2002, including the apparently political murder of Pim Fortuyn, certainly affected the public climate in the country. The results of these municipal and parliamentary elections could not be analysed in this paper in any depth. At first sight, however, they do not seriously impair the conclusions drawn from the results of the earlier elections and we will on a few occasions refer to them.

        The distance between Amsterdam and Almere is approximately...

      • 3.10 Spatial Detachment and New Challenges of Metropolitan Governance
        (pp. 269-286)
        Willem Salet and Martin de Jong

        In recent decades much has been written about the different manifestations of the “unfolded” city, where the boundaries no longer coincide with the historical territorial confines. In his recent work about the post-metropolis Los Angeles, Edward Soja stylizes the dominant discourses about the contemporary dilemmas facing major cities (Soja 1996 and 2000). He presents the following metaphors:

        – the Cosmopolis: a major city that relies on international networks and connections;

        – the Exopolis: an inner city abandoned by the white middle-class;

        – the Carceral Archipelago: a city fragmented by the privatization of space and inaccessible to large segments of the...


    • 4.1 Landscapes of Power in Amsterdam?
      (pp. 289-310)
      Rob van Engelsdorp Gastelaars

      There has recently been much debate in the Netherlands, about the future “spatial design” of the country. These discussions have in part been stimulated by the national government, which for the fifth time since the end of the 1950s is preparing a policy document outlining the future shape of land use in the country. But they have also been fostered by the increasing media coverage in recent years of the new North American metropolitan landscape. This landscape is characterized by (1) an increasing deconcentration of urban residents and businesses into the hinterland of the old core cities; (2) an increasing...

    • 4.2 Mixed Embeddedness and Post-Industrial Opportunity Structures Trajectories of Migrant Entrepreneurship in Amsterdam
      (pp. 311-330)
      Robert Kloosterman

      The ubiquitous process of globalization involves not just the cross-border integration of markets (products, inputs, capital, etc.), but also the long-distance movements of people. International migration is very much part and parcel of the emerging global mosaic of regional economies. Highly-skilled immigrants from developed economies move to places abroad where they can make the most of their specialized skills. Migrants from less-developed countries, many of them relatively lacking in educational qualifications, also flock to the advanced metropolitan areas that make up these regional economies. They have an impact on labor, housing, and product markets in these advanced urban economies. But...

    • 4.3 Identity and Legitimacy in the Amsterdam Region
      (pp. 331-356)
      Gertjan Dijkink and Virginie Mamadouh

      In the 1990s, certain critical voices on the relation between citizen and government started to sound alarmed. Taking low turnouts for the elections as their main starting point, they insisted on either “reinventing” government, decentralizing government, revitalizing political parties, changing the subject or system of elections, or simply “educating” the citizen. Although the problem concerns all administrative levels and divisions, the alarm is particularly prompted by the condition of the big cities, which indeed show lower levels of electoral participation than smaller cities or rural areas. One of the arguments was that some cities are too large for the provision...


    • 5.1 Strategic Dilemmas Facing the Amsterdam Region
      (pp. 359-368)
      Sako Musterd and Willem Salet

      Looking back at this book’s numerous contributions, by way of an epilogue, we would like to examine some of the major challenges highlighted by the current debate about the future of the Amsterdam region. The book reflects the overall spatial impact of economic, social, cultural, and institutional trends, extrapolating the line of history into the future. The material analyzed is highly complex and dynamic, by no means complete, and in many cases remaining open-ended. Even the contours of the “region to be” are in many respects uncertain. There are no solid definitions of the new metropolitan configuration which is taking...

  9. List of Copyrights
    (pp. 369-370)
  10. Index
    (pp. 371-399)