August 11, 2014

Word of the Day: “Artwashing” – from Amsterdam’s culture war

From “Amsterdam’s Weird Culture War” in CityLab:

Conservatives insist that Amsterdam is paying too high a price for its anything-goes culture, degenerating into dirt and sleaze. Liberals maintain that there’s an attempt to manufacture a sense of crisis in order to push gentrification, property speculation, and its associated social cleansing.

The focal point for this debate has so far been Project 1012s red light district.  … For opponents, this process is little more than artwashing.

With the fresh batch of creatives all on temporary contracts, the arty tenants are really being used to sanitize the red light district to prepare it for a new breed of wealthier occupant.  For defenders, it’s an essential step in reclaiming part of the historic city for people who the sex industry discourages from visiting.

Heritage, culture, real-estate and sex – all in one disputable package.

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