The quality of life in Holland’s four big cities has improved over the past 12 years, but this is largely despite government efforts to improve urban living, according to reports by two cabinet advisory bodies.
The reports, from the spatial planning office (RPB) and social policy unit (SCP) say the launch in 1994 of a major campaign to improve inner cities and attract more companies and people has had little effect. For example, inner city economies have grown and unemployment rates are down because of economic growth in general, rather than any specific action from national and local government, the RPB report concludes. Giving up the urban policy programme, due to be wound down in 2009, was a ‘serious option,’ the RPB said.
The two reports conclude that people living in the big four cities are likely to be happier than the Dutch population in general. In particular, crime rates are down and inhabitants feel safer on the streets. At the same time, the overall quality of housing has improved, partly due to social housing sales which have encouraged genetrification in formerly run-down areas. Nevertheless a number of tough areas still need extra attention, the RPB report concludes. ‘Increasing segregation in education, the high proportion of benefit claimants in certain ethnic groups and the exodus of middle class families,’ still needed to be tackled, the report said.
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