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Researching Identity

The recent hype about creative cities is accompanied by a heightened sense of urgency regarding suburban development. It is therefore important to find social-scientific bearings on the formation of place-type identities, such as suburban, urban and rural identities.

As part of a PhD-project three locations were selected: Amsterdam-Oost, Alphen aan den Rijn and Kockengen. In each location, a survey was conducted along with qualitative interviews. Household type, residential history and social position have come up as the principle explanatory factors. The findings indicate that the suburb features comparatively little variation in identity. The city and village both exhibit a clear distinction between the original population and highly-educated newcomers. The city of course also houses a large group of immigrants.

This project focuses on the main spatial trends concerning different parts of the middle classes. A group relying on economic capital can be found in suburbia, whereas a group relying on cultural capital tends to seek out cities and villages.

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