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This workshop, jointly organised by the Amsterdam Centre for Urban History and the Centre for Urban Studies, aims to develop a long-term perspective on urban displacement, social transformation and resistance.

Detail Summary
Start date 9 May 2019
End date 10 May 2019
Bushuis/Oost-Indisch Huis


Gentrification is one of the most striking developments of our time, radically impacting residential, consumption and investment patterns, and urban culture more broadly. Yet despite its significance, little is known about gentrification processes predating the repopulation of Western cities from the 1980s onwards. While geographers are more inclined to focus on contemporary developments, historians seem wary of using the term when examining the social transformation of bygone eras. This leaves us with a remarkable gap on the historical understanding of gentrification. Tracing the history of the phenomenon will enable us to challenge common definitions, perceptions and stereotypes. This in turn will inform contemporary debates about whether or not a concept such as gentrification, rooted in the specific historical-institutional context of mostly Anglo-Saxon cities, can be transferred across global contexts and considered a “planetary” phenomenon.

Aims and objectives

With the organisation of a two-day workshop, the Amsterdam Centre for Urban History and the Centre for Urban Studies aim to bring together academics from the fields of urban geography, urban history and other urban studies-related subdisciplines. 

The workshop will be hosted by the University of Amsterdam, and will be preceded by a keynote lecture by Suleiman Osman: 'The Historical Pitfalls of Gentrification'. Gentrification is one of the most contentious issues in cities around the globe today. But does it have a history? Five decades after sociologist Ruth Glass coined the term in 1964, gentrification is beginning to attract more attention from historians. But the hotly contested word presents several potential pitfalls for historical analysis. This talk will introduce some of these pitfalls and offer potential paths toward forging a “history of gentrification”.

Programme and Presentations

Thursday 9 May

At 9.30 the day will commence in the VOC-zaal with coffee and tea. At 10.00 the guided city walk through the Jordaan will start from here. On Thurday 9 May the following speakers will present:

  • Suleiman Osman (George Washington University): ‘The Historical Pitfalls of Gentrification’ (keynote lecture)
  • Manuel Aalbers (KU Leuven): ‘Revisiting the Changing State of Gentrification’
  • Alvaró Ardura (Madrid School of Architecture): ‘It Takes a Long Time to Build a Tsunami: The History of Gentrification in Spanish Cities’
  • Aimée Albers (Free University Amsterdam): ‘Early Cultures of Gentrification in Amsterdam Neighbourhood “de Pijp” 1960-1975’
  • Hilde Sennema (Erasmus University) & Marianne Klerk (Oxford University): ‘An Exploratory History of Gentrification: Katendrecht Untangled (1890-2020)’

Friday 10 May

On Friday the programme will take place in room F.021. After coffee and tea the following speakers will present:

  • Philip Lawton (University College Dublin): ‘Unbounding Gentrification Theory? The Significance of Suburbanization, Multi-Dimensional Space, and Relational Approaches’
  • Walter Matznetter (Universität Wien): ‘100 Years of Tenant Protection in Vienna: A Steering Instrument for Gentrification’
  • Teresa Graziano (University of Catania): ‘Consumption-led Gentrification and Off-the-beaten-track Tourism in the Historical Centre of a Mediterranean City’
  • Giacomo Salerno (Sapienza University Rome): ‘Planning Gentrification: The Long-standing Production of Italian Historical Cities as Tourist Attractions: The Venetian Case’
  • Gréta Süveges (Central European University): ‘The Dynamic Intermingling of Neoliberal Gentrification and the Search for “Village Roots” in Újlipótváros, Budapest’
  • Giovanni Semi & Magda Bolzoni (University of Torino): ‘The Persisting Austerity Moment: Observing Gentrification Before and During the Crisis’
  • Remco Vermeulen (Erasmus University): ‘Heritage Conservation and Gentrification in Postcolonial Jakarta’
  • Andreas Kunzi (Independent urban researcher): ‘Imprint, Pathway, Lock-in? Researching Gentrification at the Intersection of Historical and Social Sciences’

Download the full programme including times and locations below.

Organisation and Location

This workshop is organised by Tim Verlaan (Centre for Urban History) and Cody Hochstenbach (Centre for Urban Studies) and is funded by a Centre for Urban Studies Seed Grant and a grant from the Centre for Urban History. 

Participation is free of charge, but please register by sending an email to Cody Hochstenbach.

Bushuis/Oost-Indisch Huis

Kloveniersburgwal 48
1012 CX Amsterdam