Welcome to the The Hague Gentrification Map. This online research project strives to map out gentrification as it happens in the city of The Hague, as well as other housing struggle related issues. If you have information that you see missing from the map or that could in another way contribute to this research project, please contact us via gentrificatiemonitor(at)riseup.net.
Gentrification is a hard to pinpoint process that often silently slips into neighbourhoods and is generally noticed by the people most effected when it’s already too late to effectively resist it. By means of this crowd sourced map we want to unmask this invisible enemy and contribute to preventing the further sell out of the city.
What is gentrification?
Gentrification is a big word for a process by which older (often multicultural) working-class neighborhoods are increasingly inhabited by (predominantly white) households with higher incomes, attracted by the relatively low housing prices, characteristic appearance of the neighborhood and its location close to the center. On the one hand, gentrification leads to the upgrading of a neighborhood or district – on the other, it pushes tenants out, to other parts of the city (or beyond), tearing apart families and neighborhood communities with high-quality social connections.
How it starts
Gentrification usually starts with changes that attract new, wealthier residents and exclusive businesses. After years of municipal neglect and disinterest, attention is suddenly being paid to landscaping, urban cleaning and infrastructure. Other indicators that in conjunction with each other, can indicate the gentrification of a neighborhood are the presence of students, a creative class, investments by project developers, renovation and splitting or contracting of homes.
The intermediate outcome
The neighborhood is improving: at least in terms of diversity, public amenities, liveliness through hip catering establishments, young entrepreneurship and a flourishing creative sector. That in itself sounds positive, but it is not for the local residents who see their rent and prices in their neighborhood rise rapidly: in contrast to their income! The cheap corner shop is being replaced by a luxury supermarket; the neighborhood café is bought by a hip lunchroom; the old factory building with artists has to make way for an architectural firm.
The unjust result
The constant increase in the attractiveness of the neighborhood is being used by wealthy investors to ultimately force not only the less affluent residents to leave, but also the businesses and initiatives that have brought the neighborhood its new look. When the neighborhood is ultimately only affordable for wealthy newcomers, the gentrification process is complete. We believe that neighborhoods can and should flourish without destroying and displacing communities. After all, everyone is entitled to reasonable housing and humane treatment. We consider gentrification, as a process of ‘urban colonisation’, unjust and unacceptable. All over the world it has become a threat to residents and public housing as a fundamental universal priority.
How does the map work
We have depicted the city as a puzzle of connected neighbourhoods. Each neighbourhood is highlighted in a colour that indicates the phase of the neighbourhood in relation to the gentrification process, as you can see in the legend. In more detail: “not (yet) gentrified” denotes neighbourhoods where the gentrification process has not happen yet or has barely started; “gentrify(ing/ed)” indicates neighbourhoods where the gentrification process is clearly happening; and “historically rich” denotes neighbourhoods that where initialy designed for very wealthy residents or where the gentrification process was completed long ago. Click on a neighbourhood for relevant information and specific examples of the sale of social rent and manifestations of housing struggles, such as community organising against evictions and squatting actions as a protest against abuses in the housing marked. You can also find more information about the neighbourhood via additional links.
This map is an ongoing ‘work in progress’, depending on the input of everyone who wants to contribute to it. We do not pretend to provide a complete overview.