For those in the know, the Netherlands are all but synonymous with responsible urban planning. From mass transit to mass cycling, from sustainable building to species protections, the country has raised the bar for the rest of the world. Now, though, politics in the Netherlands is shifting precipitously to the right — and many fear that progressive urban planning could fall by the wayside. Low-income, state-subsidized housing once accommodated 70 percent of the populace; it currently houses a mere 30 percent. Meanwhile, increased road development is leading to urban sprawl, shopping centers are springing up along freeways like mushrooms, and American-style living has taken root in parts of the country. Harm Tilman, editor of de Architect magazine, says that the old-style, socially conscious development model is being rewritten, and that, “Land has become a market commodity.”
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