This paper is a critical reply to an article by Stal and Zuberi, in which they compare two policies which deconcentrate poverty in the US and the Netherlands. By drawing lessons from a renewal program in the Netherlands, they suggest several ways to help break the ‘cycle of poverty’. We distinguish at least three fundamental flaws in their argument. After discussing these flaws, we discuss renewal in Dutch cities and issues related to displacement and social networks. We conclude with a reflection on the nature of comparative urban research.