Urban renewal money had little effect: report

Problem neighbourhoods have not benefited from the government’s urban renewal plan, the government’s socio-economic policy unit SCP reports on Tuesday.

The plan, launched in 2008 during the fourth cabinet of Jan Peter Balkenende, was aimed at the 40 most deprived and rundown neighbourhoods. They would be spruced up and turned into model places to live.

Between 2008 and 2012, housing corporations invested €750m in the designated neighbourhoods. Part of this money, an annual €75m, came from housing corporations outside these neighbourhoods.

Higher incomes

The money went to social projects, large-scale demolition and the building of new homes. The idea was to encourage higher-income earners to move to these areas who, it was thought, would take better care of their homes.

Now the SCP says the plan has had little effect. The designated problem neighbourhoods have fared no better than other problem neighbourhoods. ‘The special attention given to these areas has made no significant difference to their quality of life, safety and socio-economic position,’ the report says.

External influences

External influences such as the economic crisis and changes in the way criminals work has had a greater influence than the investment, says the SCP.

‘What we do not know is if without the extra investment these problem neighbourhoods would have been in an even worse state,’ the SCP’s Jeanet Kullberg told the NRC.


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