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Moving Out and Going Down? A Review of Recent Evidence on Negative Spillover Effects of Housing Restructuring Programmes in the United States and the Netherlands


  • Reinout Kleinhans
  • David Varady


Comparing USA and Dutch experiences, this paper seeks to determine whether the demolition of public or social housing results in negative spillover effects, i.e. the shift of crime and other social problems to nearby neighbourhoods, as a result of residential relocation patterns. Notwithstanding fundamental contextual differences, existing research shows that many relocatees do recluster in low-income areas not much better than the public or social housing sites they moved from. Furthermore, USA and Dutch research highlights concern among public officials, politicians and community activists that this clustering is resulting in higher crime, increased neighbourhood dissatisfaction (among existing residents), more conflicts between residents, lower school test scores, etc. Few researchers have, however, been able to go beyond correlations and establish cause-effect relations between the in-movement of public/social housing relocatees and increased social problems. Attempts to identify a statistical threshold for clustering, beyond which negative effects occur, have not been successful. Nevertheless, existing evidence regarding negative spillover effects is compelling enough to warrant expanded and improved monitoring of both relocation and neighbourhood change patterns and to initiate programmes to address the concerns of residents in destination areas.

Suggested Citation

  • Reinout Kleinhans & David Varady, 2011. "Moving Out and Going Down? A Review of Recent Evidence on Negative Spillover Effects of Housing Restructuring Programmes in the United States and the Netherlands," International Journal of Housing Policy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(2), pages 155-174.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:intjhp:v:11:y:2011:i:2:p:155-174
    DOI: 10.1080/14616718.2011.573205

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    Cited by:

    1. Zwiers, Merle & Kleinhans, Reinout & van Ham, Maarten, 2015. "Divided Cities: Increasing Socio-Spatial Polarization within Large Cities in the Netherlands," IZA Discussion Papers 8882, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Zwiers, Merle & van Ham, Maarten & Kleinhans, Reinout, 2017. "The Effects of Physical Restructuring on the Socioeconomic Status of Neighborhoods: Selective Migration and Upgrading," IZA Discussion Papers 10697, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Zwiers, Merle & Bolt, Gideon & van Ham, Maarten & van Kempen, Ronald, 2014. "Neighborhood Decline and the Economic Crisis," IZA Discussion Papers 8749, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Egan, Matt & Kearns, Ade & Katikireddi, Srinivasa V. & Curl, Angela & Lawson, Kenny & Tannahill, Carol, 2016. "Proportionate universalism in practice? A quasi-experimental study (GoWell) of a UK neighbourhood renewal programme's impact on health inequalities," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 152(C), pages 41-49.


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