Invited by Mediamatic, Coen Rens and 21 artists, for example Golfstromen, spent the summer of 2010 mapping the borough’s visible and invisible locations, people and data flows, and research its history and future. The work resulted in an exhibition and gave rise to the first Arabic travel guide to The Netherlands. They created the game Gentrification Battlefield.
The game demonstrates the competition and clash between social groups in recent urban redevelopment sites in Amsterdam North. More than a decade ago, only few start-up businesses were based on the north bank of the IJ river. After succesful incubator projects and real estate development, the area is now ‘under attack’ by yuppies and mega-companies such as MTV. The former inhabitants are slowly being squeezed out through gentrification.
“Amsterdam-Noord is slightly changing. Not everyone is happy with this. The battle of Noord is a fight between traditional inhabitants defending their positions, and new ‘Noorderlingen’ discovering this district as a new frontier. The NDSM Wharf and the Van der Pekbuurt are already taken over by the invasion army of hipsters and yuppies, but big parts of Noord are still left alone. What will the future of Amsterdam-Noord look like? Who wins Gentrification Battlefield? Play this strategy game with hipster Timo and his freight bike and Volkswagen van! Cross the IJ river and fight your way through the North. Or play with traditional Sjaan and her Canta car to defend affordable housing and save good old Dutch ‘gezelligheid’. But be careful: soon a secret tunnel will be opened…”