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The Effects of Physical Restructuring on the Socioeconomic Status of Neighborhoods: Selective Migration and Upgrading


  • Zwiers, Merle

    () (Delft University of Technology)

  • van Ham, Maarten

    () (Delft University of Technology)

  • Kleinhans, Reinout

    () (Delft University of Technology)


In the last few decades, urban restructuring programs have been implemented in many Western European cities with the main goal of combating a variety of socioeconomic problems in deprived neighborhoods. The main instrument of restructuring has been housing diversification and tenure mixing. The demolition of low-quality (social) housing and the construction of owner-occupied or private-rented dwellings was expected to change the population composition of deprived neighbourhoods through the in-migration of middle and high income households. Many studies have been critical with regard to the success of such policies in actually upgrading neighborhoods. Using data from the 31 largest Dutch cities for the 1999 to 2013 period, this study contributes to the literature by investigating the effects of large-scale demolition and new construction on neighborhood income developments on a low spatial scale. We use propensity score matching to isolate the direct effects of policy by comparing restructured neighborhoods to a set of control neighborhoods with low demolition rates, but with similar socioeconomic characteristics. The results indicate that large-scale demolition leads to socioeconomic upgrading of deprived neighborhoods through the in-migration of middle and high income households. We find no evidence of spillover effects to nearby neighborhoods, suggesting that physical restructuring only has very local effects.

Suggested Citation

  • 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).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10697

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gideon Bolt & Ronald van Kempen & Maarten van Ham, 2008. "Minority Ethnic Groups in the Dutch Housing Market: Spatial Segregation, Relocation Dynamics and Housing Policy," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 45(7), pages 1359-1384, June.
    2. Kleinhans, Reinout & van Ham, Maarten, 2013. "Lessons Learned from the Largest Tenure Mix Operation in the World: Right to Buy in the United Kingdom," IZA Discussion Papers 7168, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Ingrid Gould Ellen & Ioan Voicu, 2006. "Nonprofit housing and neighborhood spillovers," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(1), pages 31-52.
    4. Roger Andersson, 2006. "'Breaking Segregation'—Rhetorical Construct or Effective Policy? The Case of the Metropolitan Development Initiative in Sweden," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 43(4), pages 787-799, April.
    5. 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.
    6. Annalies Teernstra, 2014. "Neighbourhood Change, Mobility and Incumbent Processes: Exploring Income Developments of In-migrants, Out-migrants and Non-migrants of Neighbourhoods," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 51(5), pages 978-999, April.
    7. Paul Lawless, 2011. "Understanding the Scale and Nature of Outcome Change in Area-Regeneration Programmes: Evidence from the New Deal for Communities Programme in England," Environment and Planning C, , vol. 29(3), pages 520-532, June.
    8. William A. V. Clark & Philip S. Morrison, 2012. "Socio-spatial Mobility and Residential Sorting: Evidence from a Large-scale Survey," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 49(15), pages 3253-3270, November.
    9. Christian Nygaard & Geoffrey Meen, 2013. "The Distribution of London Residential Property Prices and the Role of Spatial Lock-in," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 50(12), pages 2535-2552, September.
    10. Paul Lawless, 2011. "Understanding the scale and nature of outcome change in area-regeneration programmes: evidence from the New Deal for Communities programme in England," Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 29(3), pages 520-532, June.
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    More about this item


    urban restructuring; neighborhood change; selective migration; demolition;

    JEL classification:

    • O18 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure
    • P25 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Urban, Rural, and Regional Economics
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population

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