The Erosion of the Neighborhood
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Gentrification and neoliberal policy making have detrimental consequences for low-income residents in Rotterdam, specifically those with a migrant background. Gentrification can be considered “the erosion of the neighborhood”, when its original residents are disposed of to make way for affluent, and often white, people and green spaces. This thesis is the result of over three months of fieldwork in Rotterdam-West. It centers the meaning-making and experiences of residents in a neoliberal setting through a decolonial perspective. Artists and creatives are used by the municipality and housing corporations, through the implementation of the ‘creative city model’. The erosion of the neighborhood is also understood through waste management. Waste relates to the value and image of a neighborhood and can be a reminder of municipal neglect. Recently developed green spaces are perceived as signs of gentrification, as these are often made by and for the new affluent white resident. The symbol of gentrification, the ‘bakfiets’, represents these newcomers. Gentrification is resisted through spreading awareness, squatting, collective action, and silent resistance. While resisting gentrification, certain gentrification activities and artefacts are re-claimed, and imaginaries of alternative futures are revealed.