- Femininity as city marketing strategy: gender bending Rotterdam
- Urban Studies
- Volume | Issue number
- 49 | 1
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
Rotterdam organised the festival ‘La City’ as an entrepreneurial strategy to upgrade the city’s class position, using femininity as a tool. ‘La City’ was an attempt to introduce a new economy in Rotterdam: one that is service-based and post-industrial. Rotterdam is a former industrial city and is now trying to establish a new economy and a new spatial organisation. In this article, ‘La City’ campaign material, texts on the character of the city and interviews in local newspapers with policy-makers are analysed in the context of the urban renewal and gentrification policies of Rotterdam. This research shows how the city uses femininity as a marketing strategy to ‘cleanse’ Rotterdam of its working-class mythology as well as construing a hegemonic gender identity capable of excluding lower-class groups. Rotterdam, according to its own texts, is after bourgeois, feminine inhabitants that ‘lounge’ in ‘cocktail bars’ to replace the ‘rough’ men who worked in the harbour. ‘La City’ is one of many strategies to establish genderfication: the production of space for not only more affluent users (as gentrification is often defined), but also for specific gender notions. Genderfication is also established by practices of ‘mixing’ urban neighbourhoods and building homes for middle-class families.
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