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How SAMA can Help with Amsterdam's Identity Crisis

Updated: Jan 18, 2021

For those of you currently reading this, who aren't presently aware, The city of Amsterdam seems to be going through an identity change (again); like that of a teenager to a semi-respectable young adult. In doing so, there seem to be benefits and disadvantages for urban culture that have arisen during the transition. Part of this identity change is the desire to put Amsterdam as a city on the map, rather than Amsterdam centre. To do so there needs to be a cultural geographical expansion, contrary to what we have today which is the

concentration of the majority of the cultural institutes in one area. This concentration, as well as that of the broader tourist industry, in the centre, has led to congestion and broad displeasure from the locals. In response, the government is looking to expand as well as seek 'quality tourists'.

Just as a teenager wants to spread their wings and expand when reaching adulthood, the city of Amsterdam seems to be following suit. Granted, all major cities naturally develop and expand as their populations grow due to foreign and/or domestic migration. However, what differentiates Amsterdam in this particular case is the extent to which gentrification is led by the government in hopes of expanding it's "center", whilst also increasing the upper-middle class' sphere of influence through city planning and development, particularly up-market social housing.

On the other hand though, it is hard to see the viability of this new eager and wishful plan considering 1 principal issue, in my opinion. If the city decides to cut the number of tourists permitted to enter, especially only allowing 'quality tourists', how do they hope to drive up enough clients in the new and expanding hubs being created. Especially when there is no change or duplication of Amsterdam's undeniable historic and cultural charm. To help visualise the issue, if you've ever seen a desolate shopping center from a lack of customers, to the point where it's depressing, that is what's at risk of happening in this situation. Furthermore, this will create a negative precedent for Amsterdam if it ever wishes to undertake an expansion later in the future.

So what would lure up-market tourists outside of the center? Unique experiences which are unavailable except for in the new areas of development. This shift from the city towards the decentralisation of Amsterdam's culture and leisure hubs, provides SAMA with the opportunity to not only take part, but take charge of the cultural development and rejuvenation of Nieuw-Ouest as a possible new hub. More specifically for that of the broadening and continuation of subculture, no matter the medium it may be or form it takes.

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