Gedogen and Gentrification: This Is Amsterdam

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Chidi Onwuka Chidi Onwuka
According to the cab driver, Amsterdam is a giant pot filled with 750,000 crazy people. "Everyone's busy, all the time. Even when they're standing still, they're having busy thoughts and plans! Changing everything, all the time -- they build it up, take it down, build it up then take it down again!" Cabby's latest grievance is inspired by the gentrification of the Red Light District: Where there had once been women of questionable virtue, there are now studios connected to the Red Light Design Project. Seven jewelry designers will occupy these former prostitutes' dwellings for a year.

Cabby is Amsterdam: There's always something to say about something. This is Amsterdam: the compactness, busy-ness, the constant fiddling with the way things are. A city that has adopted English as a second language (try that in Paris!). The canals, the infinite evolution of the bicycle. The ingenious ways of bending rules, optional red stoplights. That wonderful word gedogen that allows something to be illegal and not illegal at the same time -- beautiful!
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