Empirical evidence of social polarisation

Some research studies state that there is little empirical evidence of ‘dual cities’ (Buck et al. 2002)

Some other analyses point out concrete examples of cities showing signs of increasing occupational inequalities (Fainstein, 2001; Kräter, 2004):

  • The clearest evidence of polarisation:
  • Countries with weaker and less universalistic welfare state
  • Countries which have experienced economic crisis
  • (Szalai, 2005; Kessler and Di Virgilio, 2005; Maloutas, 2007)

    SOME EXAMPLES:

    BETWIXT

    Project BETWIXT

    As regards social cohesion:

    Aim

    Precariousness in 7 cities (Flatley & McIntosh, 2000) and the dynamics which:

    • drive households into poverty or
    • allow them to resist

    Findings

    • Importance of strong systems of social protection
    •  Employment is not enough to guarantee social inclusion
    •  Good housing and safe neighbourhoods: crucial (Bertaux, Boje & McIntosh, 2002).

    As regards neighbourhood, social mix and identity  (Olagnero et al, 2005):

    Aim

    Neighbourhoods in Ireland (Dublin) and Italy (Turin) may show signs of weak welfare states that rely on family and informal community-based welfare support.

    However, there may also be evidence of  the effectiveness of this support, undermined by recent social changes (e.g. more women in the labor market)

    Findings

    • Dublin (neighbourhood with concentrated poverty): More social diversity (from gentrification) + new gated communities  (for affluent newcomers) –> undermined the existing neighbourhood bonds and systems of support
    • Turin: Increasing ethnic diversity and ethnic divisions: undermined the attachment of residents to the neighbourhood

    RESTATE

    Project RESTATE

    As regards social cohesion:

    Aim

    Peripheries built in large, high-density European states, in the early post war period(van Kempen et al 2005). They have social and physical problems. But… Are they really problematic? Or is it just a question of improving social cohesion? (Rowlands and Dekket, 2006).

    Findings

    MEASURES TO IMPROVE SOCIAL COHESION are essential. They:  

    • facilitate communication and networking between groups
    • empower residents
    • favour attachment to the neighbourhood and shared identity and
    • above all, promote effective participation of residents in decision making processes

     But they must be accompanied by MEASURES TO REDUCE INEQUALITIES  

    And it is important to offer more housing options for a greater housing mix. Because policies which:

    • see concentrations of poverty as a problem
    • promote demolition and gentrification 

     create even more socially diverse populations (Andersson and Musterd, 2005).

    As regards migration, ethnic diversity and neighbourhoods:

    Aim

    Fostering of social cohesion in ethnically-diverse estates

    Findings

    • The large, ethnically mixed estates don’t form a single cohesive community but overlapping communities.
    •  Future of social cohesion: mutual respect and democratic inclusion.