Nowadays, Zuidoost harbours a total of 85,000 inhabitants, over 130 nationalities and more than 80 different churches. It has now the largest community of people of Surinamese descent of the Netherlands, but also many other people from South America, West Africa, and the Caribbean.
Next to its residential areas, De Bijlmer has a large office district and entertainment and shopping district (Arena Boulevard), including Ajax' football stadium.
Villa ArenA , a large home furnishing shopping centre, and Arena Boulevard are synonymous with modern shopping, accessible from the centre of Amsterdam by metro and train.
Along the Arena Boulevard and next to the multifunctional football stadium Johan Cruijff Arena, home base for Ajax, there are gathering more and more prestigious megastores like Media Markt, Decathlon, Prénatal, Perry Sport and shopping centre Amsterdamse Poort.
Built up in the 1960s and 70s as a residential utopia of sorts with apartment blocks separated by tracts of green. It was planned as a modern, functional 'town of the future', with roads elevated above the ground, and separate routes for cars, buses, bicyclists and pedestrians. But soon after its completion, it turned out that the new neighborhood with its functional, monotone highrise buildings was not as popular as expected. The area gained the reputation of a poor neighborhood with tall, impersonal and increasingly abandoned towerblocks and struggling with soaring crime rates and vandalism.
During the last 20 years, De Bijlmer was subject to large-scale urban renewal projects. Tower blocks were demolished and replaced by small-scale, low-rise residential areas. The original idea of functional separation between living, working, traffic, and recreation was abandoned.