Nadezhda Ilieva, Kaloyan Tsvetkov, Ivanka Boteva

Modern societies are faced with many challenges related to the ever-increasing migrant flows and the ethnic, religious, economic, social and other problems that may arise as a result. That leads to complex sectoral and spatial changes, characteristic primarily of European and US cities. Social inequalities, concentration of people of different ethnicities, and the long term interactions between them, sooner or later affect the structure of urban spaces. New patterns of socio-spatial polarization – based mostly on income inequality and ethnicity – are alarming local authorities, thus forcing policy-making and decision-making regarding the problems of segregated societies. The topic of spatial segregation has occupied a significant place in scientific research for many years, and recently it has become increasingly common in a number of political discussions. The paper represents a brief theoretical review of concepts related to spatial segregation such as ghetto, enclave, citadel, ghettoized urban structure, etc., reflecting some authors’ view on some concepts. Attention is paid to the ghettoized urban structures in the cities of Bulgaria – as a specific form of spatial segregation – and the various problems accumulated in such cities – environmental, social, economic, etc. The „Nov Pat“ district in the city of Vidin, where a large part of the Roma in the city live, has been specifically examined: with the help of orthophoto images, the current state of the segregated space was mapped, while in-depth interviews with employees from the local administration have been conducted, as well as monitoring of some demographic, social, economic, etc. processes taking place in the segregated community. The results show an increase in area of the studied Roma neighbourhood by 13%, along with a 20% increase of the housing stock during the period between 2005 and 2022, leading to overcrowded and deteriorated housing, a high share of illegal housing, lack of sewage, etc. The remoteness of the neighbourhood deprives its inhabitants of access to urban resources such as basic health and educational services, which explains their low educational, health and cultural level. Regardless of the decreasing population of Vidin as a whole, a population increase is observed in the Roma neighbourhood, where currently 75% of the Roma in the town of Vidin live. Unemployment represents a serious issue – the unemployment rate is around 80%, while the employment rate is low. The Roma themselves partly solve that problem as some 25% of the residents emigrate for various periods of time as seasonal or permanent work in different European countries. The income they receive there, is later invested in building new homes or repairing existing ones, thus improving their living conditions. The local city authorities are taking measures to overcome the accumulated problems – a number of projects and trainings are being implemented to promote self-employment in order to provide opportunities for professional development of the working population: 640 persons of Roma origin have undergone motivational and professional trainings in 2021 alone. Another significant good practice aimed directly at the Roma community, is the activity of Roma mediators in the spheres of health care, education and employment. There has been a trend of increase in the number of mediators, and their affirmation as an inalienable part of the relevant systems in the city of Vidin.

spatial segregation, ghettoized urban structure, Roma neighbourhood, social and spatial dimensions

Problems of Geography, 2023, Vol.3-4, DOI: 10.35101/prg-2023.3-4.8

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: Kaloyan Tsvetkov
Affiliation: Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”

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

This publication was developed as a result of the implementation of project No. KP 06-Н65/7 from 2022 on the topic “Spatial models of Roma urban ghettoized structures in Bulgaria”, financed by the “Scientific Research” Fund at MES.

How to cite:
Ilieva, N., Tsvetkov, K., & Boteva, I. (2024). Пространствени и социални измерения на гетоизираните ромски структури в град Видин. Problems of Geography, 2023, Vol.3-4, p. 89-105.