PARIS research colloquium on May 13, 1-2 pm, Z.531 (Metropolitan Building)
Peer Smets will present his work on “Neighborhood belonging”
“For this PARIS meeting I will introduce:
Watt, P. and Smets, P. (2014) Mobilities and neighbourhood belonging in cities and suburb. London, etc.: Palgrave MacMillan.
The contents will be illustrated based on a chapter on belonging in a Rotterdam housing complex.”
Abstract: Belonging and micro settings in a Rotterdam housing complex (P. Smets and A. Hellinga)
This study focuses on Le Medi, a complex of owner-occupied housing in the Bospolder neighbourhood in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. In Bospolder – a disadvantaged neighbourhood with a large migrant population – owner-occupied housing is constructed in a Mediterranean style to attract middle classes to the neighbourhood. One may question whether these new residents would feel at home in the neighbourhood and what role mobility plays in such belonging? This question is addressed with reference to the owner-occupiers’ social and cultural capital, and the image building by residents of Le Medi and those living in the streets surrounding the complex. We found that the owner-occupiers living in Le Medi can be divided into those living inside the complex and those living at the edges. Residents – a mix of native-born and migrant origin – living in the interior of Le Medi create their own island in the neighbourhood where they interact with look-alikes, which is strengthened by the built environment (gates and the interior square). Those living at the exterior of Le Medi are more oriented to the surrounding streets and to a lesser extent at the interior of Le Medi. It appears that the residents from inside Le Medi have a sense of ‘selective belonging’. On the other hand, those at the exterior feel they are in an intermediate position in the sense that they live between two worlds and try to have links with residents of Bospolder as well as with those of Le Medi.