Both in the United States and in the Netherlands the contrast between the city and its surroundings is sharp. There are no reasons to expect a spontaneous back-to-the-city movement in the near future. In 1997 President Clinton announced a number of measure to strengthen the urban housing market by promoting urban home ownership. In this contribution it will be argued that the proposed measures will not do the job. In Dutch government announces in 1997 as well a new policy to strengthen urban districts: redifferentiation of the housing stock and restructuring of a large number of urban districts with a large share of social rented dwellings, mostly in multi-family estates. An amount of about 1 billion US dollars will be spent by the Dutch government until 2010 to promote urban restructuring: demolition of lo quality dwellings, upgrading, renovation and joining units, sale of rental property and improvement of the urban structure. Although a number of fundamental questions are not yet answered the new urban policy of Dutch government looks promising. It seems easier for the Netherlands - with a fairly wide range of incomes among the urban population - to strengthen urban housing markets than in the United States were the gap between the core city and the suburbs may be too wide to bridge.