The Spatial Dimensions of Urban Social Exclusion and Integration



Urban social questions are often related to issues of participation, inclusion and integration of the population in the urban society. When formulated the other way around, it regards a ‘fight’ against social exclusion, often also against segregation, separation and disintegration. Urban-oriented policy makers and politicians, who are operating at the level of the city, urban region or metropolis, frequently consider the understanding and reduction of social exclusion and the stimulation of integration or inclusion of subsections of the population as their most important tasks. An interesting element is that most of them appear to think, some explicitly, others implicitly, that ‘space matters’ in these urban questions. The state and city they are in; the place where people are; the space they are in; the composition of the space they use; the location relative to other important locations; these are all considered of crucial importance to understand the life chances of citizens. In the European realm, proof of this assertion can easily be found at various geographical levels. We simply have to refer to the welfare state comparisons (Esping-Andersen, 1990); or to studies, which address the economic prospects of cities (Parkinson et al, 1992). We may also refer to the enormous volume of area-based policies, which have been developed over the past decade and which often are legitimized by the idea that the spatial setting has extra and independent effects upon people’s opportunities (Burgers and Vranken, 2003).


Labour Market Welfare State Social Exclusion Single Mother Market Exchange 
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© Sako Musterd & Alan Murie 2006

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