Neighborhood interaction and place attachment among family gentrifiers. The case of the Kop van Zuid, Rotterdam
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Households containing dependent children have been a relatively neglected topic in gentrification research thus far. Most of the previous research on new-build gentrifiers either looked at the socioeconomic characteristics or the housing preferences of the incoming middle classes in redeveloped areas. The experiences and daily life activities of family gentrifiers have been underexposed topics. By performing semi-structured interviews with family gentrifiers living in Stadstuinen - a redeveloped neighborhood in a poor area of Rotterdam, the Netherlands - this study has explored three subjects which tell us a lot about the experiences and daily lives of family gentrifiers: neighborhood socialization, the use of neighborhood facilities and feelings of place attachment. This study found that, contrary to what contemporary literature might suggest, neighbors seem to play a very important role in the personal network of Stadstuiners. While the nature and quality of these contacts differ from person to person neighborhood contacts are an important addition to the social capital of Stadstuiners. While the literature suggests that gentrifiers are living in a gentrification ‘’bubble’’ (Butler, 2003) this isn’t necessarily true for all gentrifiers. Individual preferences or aversions for certain facilities play an important role in the creation of a personal pattern of consumption. It is not possible to describe the habitus of family gentrifiers living in Stadstuinen in an unambiguous way. Finally this study found that the presence of school attending children is one of the most important indicators for a strong sense of place attachment. Contrary to findings of Davidson and Lees (2005) the family gentrifiers investigated in this study do put down their roots. Many interviewees put their personal wishes aside and indicated that as long as their children are attending local primary schools they are staying put in the area. This is what binds them to the neighborhood, not their personal feelings of place attachment. So while family gentrifiers in Stadstuinen show some agreements with new-build gentrifiers as to their feelings of place attachment their actual relocation behavior is not influenced by their lack of it.