Summary and conclusions
In 2007, the then Dutch Minister for Housing, Communities and Integration, Ella Vogelaar, announced the Action Plan for Empowered Neighbourhoods (Actieplan Krachtwijken). The aim was to bring about a notable improvement in forty disadvantaged neighbourhoods over the course of a decade in the areas of housing, employment, education and growing up, integration and safety.
This report first describes how the socioeconomic position of people living in these ‘priority neighbourhoods’ has changed. Are there opportunities for social advancement? To what extent are these neighbourhoods confronted with selective migration: low-income households moving in and higher-income households moving out?
We were most interested in the effectiveness of the Dutch government's 'empowered neighbourhoods policy', aimed at improving the liveability, safety and socioeconomic status of the forty priority neighbourhoods. These aspects were evaluated using a quasi-experimental research design. We tested the effectiveness of individual neighbourhood interventions in the form of restructuring, selling off social rented housing and a package of social measures.
Although there has been some improvement in residents’ satisfaction with their neighbourhood, our findings do beg the question of whether the ambitious empowered neighbourhoods policy has made such a big difference as was assumed. Positive effects on liveability and safety turn out to be more the result of restructuring activities.