In many European countries extensive welfare provisions have significantly declined since the 1980s/90s. The de-regulation and marketisation processes have been especially remarkable in the Central and East-European post-socialist countries. These processes have affected growing social disparities, and have often also caused the growth of socio-spatial disparities between urban neighbourhoods. Since such disparities tend to affect social integration and cohesion in societies, many countries have developed area-based social mixing policies to counteract the negative effects of such neo-liberal policy turn. Underlying these policies is the premise that the mixed population composition in neighbourhoods would enhance the living conditions and life-chances of lower income groups and ethnic minorities – thus leading to better social cohesion. Provision of mixed tenure and housing types would help to achieve this goal. However, the outcomes of such policy interventions do not always lead to population mix and socio-spatial integration. The overall goal of the current research project is to contribute to finding the best balance between the need to increase economic competitiveness and cope with public sector cuts and the need for building integrated, inclusive and stable urban communities. In order to achieve this, the links between urban policies and institutional changes, and the residential dynamics in urban neighbourhoods will be explored. Comparative research will be based on cities in Sweden and Estonia, and inner-city neighbourhoods and post-war housing estates will be the main research focus. Census and longitudinal register data will be used in modelling to find out which micro- and aggregate-level factors influence residential dynamics in neighbourhoods, and how residential mobility contributes to this. Impacts of area-based policies on people’s residential careers will also be investigated. Finally, also, practical recommendations will be made.
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