Housing associations have deep roots in the Netherlands. Compared to neighbouring countries, their properties and the role they play in housing standards, urban climate, renewal and architectural quality of cities are considerable. In the 1980s and 1990s a change in attitude – from ideological to business-based – took place as a result of increasing scale and professionalism, and the associations began to operate more as commercial developers. The credit crisis is challenging their societal role once again, and the consequences of this are not yet known. Noud de Vreeze analyses and describes the underlying reasons for the changes within the associations in the past few decades, and explores what consequences these have for the role they assume in their projects, as well as what this means for spatial and urban quality.