Nadezhda Ilieva, Ivanka Boteva

The paper examines the issue of spatial segregation, which has been the subject of a number of research studies and policy discussions. Almost a century ago, segregation became the subject of discussion by a number of authors who emphasized its importance for the integration of ethnic groups in the United States and in some European countries. In recent years, spatial segregation – a common feature of numerous large cities in Europe – along with the integration of minority groups and immigrants, has attracted more and more attention. Generally, large cities in Western Europe attract immigrants from different countries and are distinguished by a wide variety of ethnic minorities, which become an important component of the urban population. Many scientists analyse the existing segregated spaces, study their characteristics, and the consequences of their influence not only on the segregated population, but also on the surrounding urban space. Some of the main aspects in the study of spatial segregation are: 1. Clarification of the space-time relationship, or the analysis of urban spaces and their change over the years; 2. Clarification of the space-population relationship, or the analysis of the influence and reflection of spatial patterns on the lifestyle of the population that inhabits such spaces. The nature of the location of the segregated areas, and their position in relation to other objects in the urban space, is of utmost importance for the consequences that follow the process of segregation. Klaff (1987) points out that for geographers, spatial location is a major determinant of interaction patterns, although in recent decades, developments in transport and communication technologies have made it possible to reduce spatial constraints. As spatial proximity increases, the likelihood and degree of social interaction increases. For a large part of the rest of the population, which has a higher social and professional status, segregated neighborhoods have a negative social image and are outside the so-called mental maps of the residents as a possible habitat. Almost always, the bad reputation of these neighborhoods is transferred to the neighboring urban areas as well, but it also has a negative impact on public policies and investment activity, as well as on the attempts of state bodies and local authorities to integrate segregated population groups. A very important characteristic of segregated spaces is the so-called “proximity effect”, referring not only to the proximity of individual residents, but also to their access to various institutions. These effects are defined as negative in terms of socialization processes and future life trajectories, and are linked to a number of problems, such as long-term unemployment, poor social contacts, increase in crime rates, difficult access to local urban resources, etc. In addition to those negative consequences, some positive features can also be noted, such as inter-ethnic support within the segregated group; possibilities to organize institutional support, especially when the group is more numerous; establishment of joint business opportunities among the members of the segregated group, etc. However, those positive features of segregation help consolidate the given population group and make future integration attempts even more difficult. Evaluating the positive and negative effects of spatial segregation, it can be concluded that the negative effects are significantly more. In modern discussions, the prevailing opinion is that spatial segregation strengthens the existing social inequalities and leads to many other negative consequences related to restrictions on the participation of segregated residents in the social life of the city, low quality of education, low degree of integration into the labor market, deteriorated health indicators etc. In this regard, measures are being taken by state and local authorities to overcome these consequences, which will be the subject of a subsequent publication.

spatial segregation, spatial stigmatization, socialization, integration of ethnic groups

Problems of Geography, 2023, Vol.3-4, DOI: 10.35101/prg-2023.3-4.7

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

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

Ilieva, N., & Boteva, I. (2024). Последствия от пространствената сегрегация. Problems of Geography, 2023, Vol.3-4, p. 77-87.

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