chapter  8
21 Pages

The Modern City: Migration, Social Control and Planning, 1850–Present


With the spectacular growth of the European population in the nineteenth century, the number of migrants that settled in the city increased sharply, too. Many people continued to live their lives in the immediate vicinity of the parental home, but it was also the case that people from all walks of life tried their luck elsewhere. From about 1850, the development of the city and the urban society was inextricably linked to this fl oating population. The migration pressures and the rapidly rising number of births, especially in the lower strata of society, were a permanent challenge for city governors. How should they cope with the consequences of this population growth? Reluctantly, they became aware of the need for intervention. Thus, the modern city was born, with public amenities such as gas, sewerage and water, and connections to a network of road and rail links. The infl ux of new residents from the countryside and, throughout the twentieth century, from ever-farther foreign countries, found housing there; fi rst in miserable slums, gradually in ever-larger and better housing facilities. But before the city threatened to become so large that, by Dutch standards, it would be uninhabitable, the population had spread beyond the city limits-into garden cities, suburbs and, after World War II, into satellite cities.