Nadezhda Ilieva

Spatial segregation manifests itself in different ways during different historical periods depending on the different ideological, political, socio-economic, ethnocultural and other influences. Post-socialist societies face many challenges at the same time, leading to complex sectoral and spatial changes, including in cities. There are new models of socio spatial polarization, increasingly based on income inequality and ethnicity. Social inequalities, as well as long-term ethnic interactions, sooner or later affect the structure of space. The various forms of spatial segregation in Bulgaria are related to the territorial concentration of the Roma ethnic group, and the increase in the level of their spatial segregation in recent decades is proven. The factors that influence the formation of different models of spatial segregation are divided into two groups: internal or voluntary (ethnocultural and demographic) and external (political and institutional, socio-economic and discriminatory) factors. This publication analyses the demographic factors, as part of the internal ones, for the formation and development of the Roma ghettoized structure Harman Mahala, Plovdiv. Combined methods were used in order to obtain quantitative and qualitative data, through which the studied processes were studied in greater depth. Demographic factors are key in determining differences in levels of spatial segregation and largely determine the degree of influence of other groups of factors. In this regard, an in-depth analysis of the peculiarities and ways of forming the modern ethnic structure, the number of Roma population in different urban areas, the ethnic diversity of Harman neighbourhood, the share of ethnic communities, trends in demographic and migratory behaviour of Roma in the study area , their age, educational and religious structure, composition and character of the household. In order to formulate effective national and regional policies and strategies for Roma integration and to objectively assess their effectiveness, there is an urgent need to improve the collection of ethnicity data through regular monitoring. The developed methodology to some extent solves the problem of lack of data. The application of the compiled research algorithm collects a wide range of data related not only to the demographic characteristics of the Roma population. Despite the observed trends of decreasing natural growth, there is a rapid increase in population in the urban ghettoized structure Harman neighbourhood. The decline in the birth rate is mainly the result of policies to keep children in school and increase their educational level, as well as increased emigration, which has a limiting effect on the number of births. Although emigration has been intense over the last decade, it is not necessarily accompanied by a change of residence, as in many cases migration processes are intermittent, sporadic. Returning from abroad with their savings, many Roma buy real estate in other parts of the city and surrounding villages and despite the change in status, income and marital status keep their property in the Roma neighbourhood in their desire to keep family, clan, neighbourhood relationships. The Muslim religion and the Turkish mother tongue play a very strong role in the formation of the ethno-territorial community and the alienation of the state. These ethnic features lead to the formation of the idea of alienation of Turkish Roma (such as over 90% of the population of Harman Mahala) not only from the majority, but also from other Roma groups. There is a process of searching for a new self-identification, of the formation of an ethnic community related to the Turkish identity. This desire is growing to such an extent that the Roma recognize Turkey as their homeland and as a country that would solve their accumulated problems, forming in their minds an idealized image that in no way corresponds to reality. All these processes give grounds to draw the conclusion about the strong influence of the internal factors for spatial segregation of the Roma in the formation of the urban ghettoized structures in the city of Plovdiv. The development of a successful regional policy will be effective, provided that the demographic situation, the number and location of individual ethnic and religious communities and their problems are known. The research done partly covers these needs, but there are also many problems that need to be addressed. In practice, the nature of demographic processes and whether the Roma will copy the reproductive and marital behaviour of the majority depend on future integration problems. The integration processes will also determine the speed and intensity of the transition of the Roma to the fourth phase of the demographic transition. It is related to increasing the requirements for raising children, raising the educational level of the Roma, as their economic well-being is one of the most important factors influencing the change of their values. Trends in demographic development show that the increase in the Roma population will continue, which will maintain the high demand for housing. All these facts, in turn, will pose significant challenges to the physical planning of new homes.

spatial segregation, urban ghettoized structure, Harman Mahala – the city of Plovdiv, demographic factors

Problems of Geography, 2022, Vol.1-2, DOI: 10.35101/prg-2022.1-2.3

Author information:
Author: Nadezhda Ilieva
Affiliation: National Institute of Geophysics, Geodesy and Geography – BAS, department of Geography, str. Acad. G. Bonchev, bl. 3, Sofia 1113, Bulgaria

This issue of “Problems of Geography” magazine is published with the financial support of Bulgarian National Science Fund at the Ministry of Education and Science.

How to cite:
Ilieva, N. (2022). Демографски фактори за пространствена сегрегация и отражението им върху формирането и развитието на гетоизираната градска структура Харман Махала, гр. Пловдив. Problems of Geography, 2022, Vol.1-2, p. 35-59.