2011 volume 43(6) pages 1438 – 1454
doi:10.1068/a43470

Cite as:
Doucet B, van Kempen R, van Weesep J, 2011, "‘We’re a rich city with poor people’: municipal strategies of new-build gentrification in Rotterdam and Glasgow" Environment and Planning A 43(6) 1438 – 1454

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‘We’re a rich city with poor people’: municipal strategies of new-build gentrification in Rotterdam and Glasgow

Brian Doucet, Ronald van Kempen, Jan van Weesep

Received 12 October 2010; in revised form 7 January 2011

Abstract. Gentrification—the creation of affluent space—has evolved from a sporadic and spontaneous process focusing on individual households into a municipal goal in and of itself, either in existing neighbourhoods, or in new-build developments. This is increasingly being done through flagship new-build gentrification projects. This paper examines why and how this strategy has been implemented in Rotterdam and Glasgow through a study of two projects: the Kop van Zuid and Glasgow Harbour. By using a comparative approach, it sheds further light on reasons for pursuing this municipal goal, and examines how large new-build flagship gentrification is used to help realise these aims. It reveals a discourse in which the rationale of this policy is linked to the attraction and retention of affluent households, a lack of which, it is believed by policy makers, hurts urban competitiveness. It shows that this discourse is present and influences these two projects despite the different compositions of actors involved (the municipally led Kop van Zuid and the developer-led Glasgow Harbour). However, the ways in which this goal is implemented vary according to the local contexts and the different roles ascribed to the various stakeholders.

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