Distributive Justice of Housing in Amsterdam

Research output: ThesisDissertation (external)


In growing cities with increasing housing market pressure, issues arise concerning the access to adequate housing and how scarcely available resources are distributed among households. Central and local governments aim to keep cities accessible and affordable, while populations and economic conditions are rapidly changing expanding the housing stock is a long term process. In combination with limited resources this means that improving the position of one group may negatively impact the position of another. This dissertation addresses the problem concerning how the distributive justice as produced through housing can be assessed, making use of empirical evidence and applying explicit normative standards of justice. There seems to be a broad consensus over the policy aim of the ‘undivided city’ in Amsterdam. The understanding and application of the ideal, however, varies significantly among housing actors. The loose, different and changing understandings do not provide a clear base for policy evaluation. Therefore, theoretical perspectives of distributive justice (e.g. priority and sufficiency) are applied in ex-ante and ex-post evaluations of the impact of policy- and economic changes on households. A model for the assessment of two key dimensions of housing, affordability and physical adequacy, is developed. Sufficiency and priority standards are used to value the changing distributions of housing among households. For the case of Amsterdam, it is shown how the strong influence of the economic crisis was strengthened by policy measures, amplifying socio-spatial distributive changes over time. The study stresses the importance of the explicit use of justice standards, as an improvement in one standard can coincide with a worsening in another.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Universiteit van Amsterdam
  • Salet, Willem , Supervisor, External person
  • Hemel, Zef, Supervisor, External person
  • Schilder, Frans, Supervisor, External person
Award date17 Oct 2019
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
Print ISBNs9789078862314
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • distributive justice
  • social housing
  • affordability
  • housing policy


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