Planning in the Global City of Amsterdam
Amsterdam’s global status today is associated with its centrality in international financial services and trade (Sassen 1994: 90). Additionally, this identity is also ascribed to several cultural attributes including the city’s civic society, arts and drug culture (Keane 2003: 25; Yeoh 2005: 948; Castells 2010: 2743). Such contradictory characteristics assist in the contestation of theoretical definitions of neo-liberal globalization (Flew 2009; Kalb, Pansters and Siebers 2004: 31; Leorke 2009; Robertson 2004).
First posited in the 1980s, globalization predicted an inexorable movement toward a borderless cosmopolitan epoch controlled by supra-national corporations and a unilateral economic order of free trade, and unimpeded movements of capital and labour. The establishment of globalization in the form of worldwide neo-liberal economic corporatism and free movement of people (Kalb, Pansters and Siebers 2004: 13) has also been impeded by the intrusions of imperial and state powers, closed borders, trade barriers, international organizations and private property interests (Harvey 2006). Yet these forms have also enabled the single market and economic and social cooperation of the European Union (EU) of which the Netherlands is a part. The Netherlands offers an interesting case study for the relationship between open global trade and immigration and state controls. The Netherland’s service-orientated economy, which operates at a global level and in compliance with supranational finance and legal regimes, is moderated by state protection of social rights and services that aim to protect civil society from the inequities of economic or financial neoliberalism. This welfare state was adopted philosophy after World War Two to replace the Dutch pillarized’ social structure – the coexisting Protestant, Catholic and socialist sections of society that privately provided social and cultural institutional services (Ministry of Education, Culture and Science 2006). For the Netherlands, the consequence of distorting economic globalization with state social and immigration policies has been described as the experience of soft’ globalism or a localized globalism’ (Santos 2006: 394, 396).
IJburg is one response to this localized globalism and Dutch open borders. Urban geographers have described the Netherlands as a laboratory’ for urban development (Duyvendak, Hendriks and van Niekerk 2009: 10) based on the enormous economic and demographic transformations resulting from the combination of contemporary globalization, urbanization and welfare platforms operating in recent decades.
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