Understanding Urban Practitioners' Perspectives on Social-Mix Policies in Amsterdam: The Importance of Design and Social Space

T.P. Lawton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Throughout recent decades, socially-mixed neighbourhoods have become a key element of urban policy and debate. This paper argues, with Amsterdam as an empirical case, that the design, layout and everyday use of social space'including public and private space'is of key importance in understanding the experiences and perspectives of social-mix policies amongst `urban practitioners', such as planners, architects and management personnel. While the promotion of `liveability', through the management of social problems, is often highlighted as a key element of social-mix policies, the findings presented indicate the degree to which the mixing of different groups according to ethnicity, race and social class presents a number of new challenges for liveability and management within both public and private space. Furthermore, it is argued that these challenges play a significant role in dictating the scale at which social mixing takes place, from the urban block to the street and at the neighbourhood level. It is concluded that a greater amount of attention is needed to such factors in understanding the dynamics of social interaction in public and private communal space when seeking to understand the everyday realities of socially-mixed neighbourhoods.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)98-118
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Urban Design
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013

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