Social Mix: International Policy Approaches

  • Keith Kintrea


This chapter deals with mixed communities through the rubric of social mix: the co-location of social renters with wealthier private renters or owner occupiers in neighbourhoods previously dominated by poorer households. Frequently, social mix policies have been pursued as part of wider housing and regeneration programs. This chapter provides a general overview of the policy and makes the often implicit link between social mix and neighbourhood effects explicit. For instance, neighbourhood effects theory suggests individuals can become socially isolated when they live in deprived neighbourhoods and develop the ‘wrong’ sort of social capital. Mixing has been promoted as a policy device through which outward looking social networks can be enabled through the presence of wealthier residents. However, sceptics of the policy have pointed out that spatial proximity may not lead to physical mixing between the different social groups and is insufficient to create new links. Similarly, socially mixed communities have been described as communities without community, developing conflicting identities between groups. Within the critical literature, the policy has been described as gentrification by stealth and the state-led destruction of communities in order to attract private investors into areas previously demarcated as state owned. In conclusion, it is argued that social mixing has (partially) been guided by ideological positioning and that social mix policies focus on the symptoms of inequality not the causes. Thus, the outcomes have been based more on hope than real expectations of change.


Social Capital Social Housing Neighbourhood Effect Affordable Housing Housing Association 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science and Business Dordrecht. 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Urban Studies, School of Social and Political SciencesUniversity of GlasgowGlasgowScotland, UK

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