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Neighbourhood interventions, and social and ethnic mix: <br/>the tackling of urban inequalities

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Uncovering the urban inequality myth

Investigating the social and spatial impacts of urban regeneration programmes in deprived and ethnically diverse neighbourhoods in southern Europe sheds light on regeneration programmes.

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Regeneration programmes, also referred to as renewal or renaissance programmes, are area-based urban programmes used as methods to reduce inequalities in neighbourhoods where there is a high concentration of poverty. There is a common misconception that socially diverse and mixed communities promote more interaction between social and ethnic groups. Middle-income groups are sought in deprived neighbourhoods in order to lessen the number of disadvantaged households and create social mixing. Whether and how area-based programmes are redistributive mechanisms or if they are instead regressive urban policies is what the EU-funded 'Neighbourhood interventions, and social and ethnic mix: The tackling of urban inequalities' (DIVERCITIES) project investigated. It sought to answer questions such as have the social and special inequalities and conditions for social mobility increased or decreased? Findings indicated that there is a reverse in the de-population process in the city centre which has become more socially and ethnically mixed. Spatial segregation has degreased among ethnic groups and low-income households. Despite this, socio-spatial inequalities have become more intense and have changed geographically and in scale regarding segregation patterns, indicating exclusion. Significant positive outcomes have also been shown. Integration with people-based programmes has improved welfare services and has had a positive impact lessening deprivation for long-term residents. More research is needed however to have a full understanding of the impact on social mobility. This project's research makes an empirical contribution to the wider international theoretical and political debate on regeneration and social cohesion in cities. It has also contributed to developing a southern European framework relating public interventions with production of inequalities in order to change current patterns of thinking.


Urban inequality, urban regeneration, ethnically diverse, mixed communities, deprived neighbourhoods

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