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Neighbourhood Social Mix:
Right Diagnosis; Wrong Prescription?
George Galster
Hilberry Professor of Urban Affairs
Wayne State University
Detroit USA
Presentation at ENHR Plenary
Toulouse, France
July 6, 2011
Purposes of Presentation
Analyze:
1. “diagnosis” of social problem
thought to justify social mix
2. “prescription” of social mix
Preview of Main Conclusions
There IS strong evidence base (at least
in U.S.) to worry on equity and
efficiency grounds about spatial
concentrations of disadvantaged
households
However, “social mix” is complex &
caveat-laden prescription to end
concentrated disadvantage
Policy Rationale: Equity & Efficiency Goals
EQUITY:
Improves absolutely well-being of disadvantaged
EFFICIENCY:
Positive-Sum Outcomes for Society (aggregation
of disadvantaged + advantaged)
Implies :
Pareto Improvements sufficient condition;
Hicks-Kaldor compensation principle necessary
condition :
[“$$ winners” > “$$ losers”]
Crucial Feature of Concentrated Disadvantage:
Are there Non-Linear Effects?
If rate of social problems grows
disproportionately with concentration
of disadvantage
 a policy that reduces such
concentrations can, IN THEORY yield
both equity & efficiency gains
What Do U.S. Studies Of Neighbourhood Effects
of Concentrated Poverty Tell Us re: Non-Linear?
Rate of Social Problems in Neighbourhood
Poverty Rate in
Neighbourhood
20%
40%
Evidence from Econometric Studies of Residential
Property Values and % Disadvantaged in Neigh.
$ Values
or Rents
0
(not drawn to scale)
5
10
20
40
% Poor in
Neighborhood
OK, So Concentrated Disadvantage is Bad…
But what about “Prescription” of Social Mix?”
Three crucial caveats
 Desired social mix goal unspecified in
precise detail
 Many program options; each with
different benefits & costs
 Potential Inequities for Disadvantaged
who may move from current
neighborhoods as part of “mixing”
process
Social Mix Policy Caveat #1
Desired social mix goal unspecified in
precise detail
•Composition
•Concentration
•Scale
Social Mix Policy Caveat #1
•Composition: On what basis(es) are we mixing
people: ethnicity, race, religion, immigrant status,
income, housing tenure…all, or some of the
above?
•Concentration: What is the amount of mixing in
question? Which amounts of which groups
comprise the ideal mix, or are minimally required to
produce the desired outcomes?
•Scale: Over what level(s) of geography should the
relevant mix be measured? Does mixing at
different spatial scales involve different causal
processes and yield different outcomes?
Social Mix Policy Caveat #2
Many program options to achieve mix:
Expand # affordable dwellings in
advantaged areas via subsidized units or
tenant-based subsidies for market-rate
Expand # up-market rate dwellings in
disadvantaged areas
Develop new residential areas as
socially mixed neighbourhoods
Social Mix Policy Caveat #3
Potential inequities for Disadvantaged
who may move from current
neighborhoods as part of “mixing”
process:
Loss of “bonding social capital”
Loss of valuable social institutions
Review of Main Conclusions
There IS strong evidence base (at least
in U.S.) to worry on equity and
efficiency grounds about spatial
concentrations of disadvantaged
households ; “diagnosis” is valid
However, “social mix” is complex &
caveat-laden prescription to end
concentrated disadvantage ; perhaps
wrong “prescription”
And Remember: Social Mix is Not Enough!
It will take a more comprehensive set of
social welfare / human development
interventions and supports to provide fair
opportunities for all citizens,
…even in a world of perfectly socially
mixed neighborhoods.
Thank you for your comments and questions!
MTO Does Not Reject Neighbourhood Effects!
Little initial exposure to low poverty
neighbourhoods far from original ones
Little sustained exposure to low poverty
neighbourhoods
Little variation of neighbourhood:
% minority, job access, school district
Prior exposure to disadvantaged
neighbourhood creates indelible effects
Selection bias of moves after initial
random assignment
References
•
•
•
•
•
•
Galster, G. “Neighborhood Social Mix: Theory, Evidence, and Implications
for Policy and Planning,” in Planning as if People Mattered: Looking Back to
the Future, edited by Naomi Carmon and Susan Fainstein. Philadelphia:
University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011
Galster, G. et al. “Does Neighborhood Income Mix Affect Earnings of
Adults? New Evidence from Sweden,” Journal of Urban Economics 63
(2008): 858-870.
Galster, G. et al.“The Costs of Concentrated Poverty: Neighborhood
Property Markets and the Dynamics of Decline,” pp. 93-113 in N. Retsinas
and E. Belsky, eds. Revisiting Rental Housing: Policies, Programs, and
Priorities. Washington, DC: Brookings Inst Press, 2008
Galster, G.“Neighbourhood Social Mix as a Goal of Housing Policy: A
Theoretical Analysis.” European Journal of Housing Policy 7(2007), 19-43.
Galster, G. “Should Policymakers Strive for Neighborhood Social Mix? An
Analysis of the Western European Evidence Base,” Housing Studies 22
(no. 4, 2007): 523-546.
Friedrichs, Blasius, Galster, “Frontiers of Quantifying Neighbourhood
Effects: Introduction,” Housing Studies 22 (no. 5, 2007): 627-636
Galster, G. et al. “The Influence of Neighborhood Poverty During Childhood
on Fertility, Education and Earnings Outcomes,” Housing Studies 22
(2007): 723-752
Intra- and Extra-Neighbourhood Processes
Potentially Related to Social Mix
Intra-Neighbourhood Processes :
• Social norms & values
• Social control, reduced violence exposure
• Peer effects, role models
• Social networks
• Relative deprivation, competition
Extra-Neighbourhood Processes:
• Job accessibility
• Institutional & public service resources
• Stigmatisation
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