Going Green in the Red
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Increasingly, post-industrial port cities are transforming into green, sustainable, and resilient cities fit for the challenges of the 21st century. This thesis shows one example of these transformations, namely Bospolder-Tussendijken located in the west of Rotterdam. Although seemingly apolitical and positive, sustainable urban transformations bring up challenges that are specific to a given neighbourhood. Along with being a largely working-class neighbourhood, Bospolder-Tussendijken is overwhelmingly multicultural. This thesis positions itself within the academic debate of sustainable urban transitions, citizenship, and environmental and social justice. The research focuses on the task and project of the “Resilient BoTu 2028” plan, including social and environmental initiatives to improve the neighbourhood. Although somewhat overlooked in the academic research on sustainable urban transitions in the global north, challenges arising from poverty, energy poverty and language skill have a greater burden on women. This thesis will look at how and to what extent, in the context of Bospolder-Tussendijken women experience this transformation in their everyday lives. Women who take on the role of the primary caregiver often experience more social isolation and difficulties with pursuing further education and in case of immigrants, the level of their Dutch language is a major factor in being excluded from productive forms of labour. Instead, many women, predominantly from non-native speaking backgrounds, take on volunteering roles and can engage with the community using their own background, culture, and language to infiltrate local politics, such as in the case of calling for a women’s group in Bospolder-Tussendijken. This thesis then will look at the intersection between sustainable urban transformations, citizenship, and social and environmental justice through a gendered lens.