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Why do residents want to leave deprived neighbourhoods? The importance of residents’ subjective evaluations of their neighbourhood and its reputation


Many area-based initiatives in deprived urban neighbourhoods seek to reduce the number of residents who move away from the area. One common objective is to keep those with jobs or middle incomes in order to avoid further concentration of poor people and social problems. This paper is based on a study of how residents in 12 deprived urban areas in Denmark evaluate their neighbourhood and how this is connected to their wish to move or stay. The purpose is to expose the importance of residents’ subjective evaluations of the neighbourhood and its reputation for their inclination to stay or move away. Some conclusions are drawn for area-based initiatives that could reduce mobility. The study shows a strong connection between residents’ perception of the reputation of their neighbourhood and their plans to move, but it also shows that other factors have great importance too. Dissatisfaction due to social problems and crime are the main reasons for moving away from deprived neighbourhoods, especially among residents in employment. Strong social relations within the neighbourhood prove to significantly reduce the intention to move.

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Correspondence to Hans Skifter Andersen.

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Andersen, H.S. Why do residents want to leave deprived neighbourhoods? The importance of residents’ subjective evaluations of their neighbourhood and its reputation. J Hous and the Built Environ 23, 79–101 (2008).

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  • Deprived neighbourhoods
  • Neighbourhood dissatisfaction
  • Plans to move away