Gentrification in the Kinkerbuurt and its effect on the 'sense of place'

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Gentrification in Amsterdam is an ongoing issue for years now. Issues concerning this phenome-non have been part of many political campaigns of differing political parties, from D66 to GroenLinks. With all this commotion around a term, one starts to wonder if some of those issues are actually truly reflected in the population. Have the residents of these gentrified neighbor-hoods really changed their view of their home? Their ‘sense of place’? This research tries to find an answer to this by taking a look at the Kinkerbuurt, a gentrified neighborhood in the Western part of Amsterdam. The main question is: What is the effect of gentrification on the sense of place of citizens in the Kinkerbuurt in Amsterdam? To answer this question, multiple theories are used to gain an understanding of the basics of the following topics: gentrification, segregation and sense of place. Gentrification is explained through multiple theories by important scientists. However, the most important will be the di-chotomy of gentrification between cultural and economic gentrification, provided by Neil Smith. This will be used to gain a good understanding of the specific effects gentrification has had on the Kinkerbuurt. Segregation is briefly discussed, as it can be an important part of gentrification, but it does not seem to be a huge issue in the Kinkerbuurt. Lastly, the sense of place is defined with the use of three different aesthetics provided by Jean-Paul Thibaud. The environmental aesthetic, aesthetic of modernity and aesthetic of atmosphere are used to define the sense of place. All of these specific definitions of the important subjects for this research have been used in the making of interviews. This research makes use of a phenomenological case study structure, with in-depth interviews as its most important form of data. Six residents and two civil servants have been interviewed. A guided observation/interview is also part of the data. The results of all of these interviews has been compiled in the ‘results’ chapter. Here, every single interviewee’s story has been summarized for a better understanding of the various things they have said. This eventually leads to the discussion, which is once again divided between the various subjects mentioned before. Gentrification in the Kinkerbuurt is happening and its effects are showing, most promi-nently in tourism, expensive housing and an increasing diversity in the shops, but also in the popu-lation. These effects have certainly had an effect on the population, as there has been a group of residents that has been actively opposing the gentrification of the Kinkerbuurt. They argue that the heart and soul of the neighborhood is disappearing and that the newer residents can be de-manding and sometimes ignorant. However, they do admit that this is a minority, as most resi-dents, old or new, tend to be very friendly. This is in the end the main trend that has been found during this research; no matter all the different effects of gentrification, most of the population seems to get along just fine. The main conclusion that can be drawn is that there is mostly a difference between an older community mentality and a newer one. The older community is almost like a small village, where everyone helps and knows each other. The newer community is more fast-paced and in-ternational. Both communities are having a hard time learning to live with each other, be it be-cause of ignorance or stubbornness. This difference in community is the main effect gentrification has had on the ‘sense of place’ in the citizens of the Kinkerbuurt, no matter what community they are a part of.
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