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Beyond social mix? Towards a policy of social mobility. Elise Schillebeeckx The National Homelessness Conference 15/11/2012 - Glasgow. Structure. Social mix Integration through segregation ? The urban zone of transition The social mobility approach

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beyond social mix towards a policy of social mobility

Beyond social mix? Towards a policy of social mobility

Elise Schillebeeckx

The National Homelessness Conference

15/11/2012 - Glasgow

structure
Structure
  • Social mix
  • Integrationthroughsegregation?
  • The urban zone of transition
  • The social mobilityapproach
  • The social mobilityapproach: a first evaluation
social mix a recurrent policy theme

Social mix is about mixingdifferent types of residentswithin a certain area

    • Types of residents:

-Socio-economic mix -Mix of lifestyles

-Ethno-cultural mix -Mix of age groups

    • Mix within certain area:

-city -district

-street -block

  • Social mix versus segregation
    • spatial dimension of social inequality
    • role of housing in translating social into spatial exclusion
Social mix: a recurrent policy theme
social mix a recurrent policy theme1

Different motives and assumptions behind social mix

    • Solution for segregation of the working class
    • Struggle against (ethnic) segregation (and racism)
    • Reversing the exodus out of the city, attracting middle class double-income families
    • Neighbourhood effects
  • But:
  • Disadvantagedneighbourhoodsstillexist
  • Exodus out of the city still continues
  • Assumptions about positive neighbourhoodeffectscontested and/or not scientificallyproven
  • Often more negative (displacementof original inhabitants, loss of social cohesion, ...) than positive consequences
Social mix: a recurrent policy theme
integration through segregation
Integration through segregation?
  • Chicago School – first half of the twentieth century
  • City grows in concentric circles
  • Social groups have tendency to cluster in different zones
  • Spatial segregation as something 'natural' (link with ecology)
  • Transition Zone plays crucial role

Bron:Burgess, E.W. 1928. "Residential segregation in American cities." The Annals of the American Academy, CXXXX:105-115.

the zone of transition

‘In-between’ zone under pressure from the expanding economic heart of the city

  • Lowquality of the living environment
    • Lack of investment
    • Poor housing conditions
    • 'Marginal’ zone in the city
  • Dual function:
    • Port of first entry
    • Transitionfunction
The zone of transition
the zone of transition popularized
The zone of transition popularized

#1. Arrival City – DougSaunders

  • Story of massive migration from the countryside to the city in the 21st century
  • Arrival Cities are a platform for social mobility and economic integration, thanks to:
    • the presence of social networks
    • informaleconomy
    • cheap housing
    • Services/facilities for migrants
  • Disadvantaged neighbourhoods are often very promising and full of possibilities
  • Success / failure of arrival cities depends on local and supra-local policies
the zone of transition popularized1

# 2. The socialmobility approach– VROM Council

  • Introduced in ‘Stad & Stijging’ (‘cityanduplifting’) - in 2006 by the Dutch Council forHousing, Spatial Planning and Environment (VROM-Raad)
The zone of transition popularized
the social mobility approach

Dutch urban renewal policies characterized by the dichotomy physical projects (increasing quality of housing stock and living environment) and social projects (quality of life, social cohesion)

  • The social mobilityapproachwants to put the focus on the ambitions of the local inhabitants to climb the social ladder
  • And subsequentlytiethosesocially mobile residents to the city
  • Social mobility = social-economicemancipation, self-realization and a feeling of social security
  • Demands a differentmethodfor the measurement of poverty?
    • Longitudinal rather than cross-sectional analysis!
The social mobility approach
the social mobility approach1
The social mobility approach
  • Policy goal before: attract middle class from outside the city
  • Policy goal now: gradual and slow creation of a middle class from within the existing population
  • HOW?
  • 4 social mobility routes, different

steps on the ladder

  • Identification of opportunities and

barriers

  • The policymakersshouldaddsteps

to the ladder

the social mobility approach3

Housing

Obstacles

  • Lack of diversity in bottom part of the housing

market (cf. figure)

  • Financial constraints
  • Segregation on the housing market
  • Allocation criteria and waiting lists social housing

Opportunities & Recommendations

  • Adding more (flexible) steps to the housing ladder

(houses for starters, temporary housing, …)

  • Greater diversity in lower segment
  • Experiment with new buy/rental systems
The social mobility approach

Source: Platform 31 (2012). Social mobility– theme ‘Housing’ (report) http://www.kei-centrum.nl

the social mobility approach4
The social mobility approach

Binding the socially mobile residents to the city?

  • Socially mobile needed to let others climb on the social ladder-> continuation of social networks, stability and economic capacity and capital (cf. ‘organically’ grown social mix)
  • But ‘Up & Out’ remains the general trend
  • What do socially mobile residents demand from their living environment? What would be needed to make them stay?
the social mobility approach5
The social mobility approach

Binding the socially mobile residents to the city?

  • VROM-council= it is not about social cohesion, but about familiarity, recognition and about feeling at home
  • 4 conditions for binding people to their neighbourhood:
    • Space for the own lifestyle
    • A manageable environment
    • Surrounded by familiar strangers
    • Identification with the environment
the social mobility approach6
The social mobility approach

In sum, the VROM Council advocates for:

  • An urban policy that starts from a social agenda to develop social, physical and economic interventions
  • A rupture with the sectoralapproach
  • A transversal urban renewal policy
the social mobility approach7

From a critical view

  • Stimulating social mobility≠ fighting social inequality
  • The ladder remains unchanged
  • Meritocratic model – responsibility is placed to a great extent upon the individual
  • Risk that political mobilization and collective power to change society completely disappears from the picture
  • Underexposure of non-economic dimensions of social mobility –> social mobility has also an expressive dimension (cf. Thys et. al, 2004) = progress in the area of ​​emotional wellbeing
The social mobility approach
the social mobility approach an evaluation
The social mobility approach : an evaluation

#1: ‘ A new round, new chances. Upward and downward social mobility in perspective’ (Dutch Council for SocietalDevelopment, 2011)

  • Education as the main engine for social mobility, but educationalso the new dividing line on the labour market and in society in general
  • GrowingbeliefamongstDutch population in social

mobility

  • 4 developments that affect the promise of social

mobility:

-Downward social mobility (esp. amongst men) regarding

educationalattainment

-Impact of social originremains

-Increasing path dependency

-Increasing competition on the labourmarket

the social mobility approach an evaluation1
The social mobility approach : an evaluation
  • Is social climbing always desirable / necessary?
  • Attention needed for appreciation of various positions in society
  • Possibilities of horizontal career perspectives

deserve attention as well

  • Too little attention for participation and active citizenship
the social mobility approach an evaluation2
The social mobility approach : an evaluation

#2: Social mobility: betweendream and deed(Platform Corpovenista, 2010)

  • Evaluation of 16 social mobility projects initiated by various housing corporations:
    • ‘Your own home’: initiated by 11 homeless people
    • ‘Empowerment’: youth programme in Amsterdam
  • Increasing social mobility = long-term and slow

process, many immeasurable and immaterial steps

  • Greatest effects on the level of (social) housing

complex and street, district level rather limited

  • Importance of continuing upward social mobility

route after projects have officially ended

the social mobility approach an evaluation3
The social mobility approach : an evaluation
  • VROM council puts too much emphasis on government

control

  • Social mobility approach too often assumes a linear

route, sometimes one takes steps down the social ladder

slide21
Thankyouforlistening
  • Elise Schillebeeckx
    • OASeS, Centre on Inequality, Poverty, Social Exclusion and the City (University of Antwerp) http://www.ua.ac.be/main.aspx?c=*OASESEelise.schillebeeckx@ua.ac.be