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Disadvantaged Urban Neighbourhoods and Communities

Previously: Poverty Neighbourhoods
Created in 2001


Reinout Kleinhans
Delft University of Technology
Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment
OTB - Research for the Built Environment

Mark Livingston
University of Glasgow
Urban Studies
School of Social and Political Sciences

Central Themes of the Group
This working group focuses on urban neighbourhoods and local communities. We are interested in the social mechanisms behind and the implications of concentrated poverty and deprivation, segregation between various socio-economic groups, and broader social inequalities between residents. Other topics of interest are social networks, social capital or social cohesion, and neighbourhood effects, as well as policies targeting these matters, such as social mix and de-concentration policies. Another focus concerns the question how neighbourhoods and their residents deal with the impacts of macro trends such as welfare state retrenchment, austerity regimes, and budget cuts.
While quantitative modelling has become prominent in the workshop, we very much welcome qualitative research. Furthermore, we are particularly keen to discuss new approaches focussing on analysis of register data, (linked) open data and social media feeds, specialised evaluation approaches (e.g. realist evaluation) and mixed-methods designs that innovatively combine qualitative and quantitative approaches. The workshop has always maintained very high standards in the research it selects and it is intended that this approach will continue.

Summary of the Belfast (2016) Conference
In 2016, the working group convened once at the conference in Belfast. This was the first meeting organised by the new working group leaders, Mark Livingston (Glasgow University) and Reinout Kleinhans (Delft University of Technology), after Jurgen Friedrichs and George Galster stepped down as Coordinators after the 2015 Lisbon conference.
During the conference in Belfast, our working group organised four sessions at which ten papers were presented (3 from Netherlands, 2 from US, 1 each from UK, China, Denmark, Italy, and Australia ). From 15 to 20 people attended the sessions:

Session 1

  • Title: The influence of neighbourhood peers and school peers on student performance: A study of Swedish school leavers 1991-2012 (Eva Andersson - Stockholm University)
  • Title How does the ‘hood take the Head Start out of participation in Early Childhood Educational programs? (Anne Santiago – Michigan State University)
  • Title: Bringing space into the equation. Using spatial econometrics to untangle neighbourhood effects on educational outcomes (Christoph Zangger – University of Bern)

Session 2
  • Title: The Support Paradox in Community Enterprise Experiments in the Netherlands (Reinout Kleinhans - Delft University of Technology)
  • Title: Genetic resilience, neighbourhood poverty and problem behaviour in boys and girls (Jaap Nieuwenhuis – Delft University of Technology)

Session 3
  • Title: The consequences of private rental growth for population turnover in Scotland’s deprived neighbourhoods (Mark Livingston – Glasgow University)
  • Title: Sinks of social exclusion or springboards for social mobility? Analysing the roles of disadvantaged neighbourhoods in urban Australia (Hal Pawson – University of New South Wales)
  • Title: The spatial Poverty Trap: Neighborhood disadvantage and residential mobility among U.S. adolescent (Matt Vogel - University of Missouri - St. Louis)

Session 4
  • Title: Publication bias in the neighbourhood effects literature (Jaap Nieuwenhuis – Delft University of Technology)
  • Title: Understanding social mix policies in Milan: between international rhetoric and local innovation (Igor Costarelli – University of Milano-Bicocca).

The papers were of a high quality and provided good opportunities for discussion. Numbers in a couple of the late afternoon sessions where a little lower than the other two but feedback was still good. We had good international representation with papers from many different countries and from different academic disciplines.
Unlike previous years, we had a relatively high no-show of three papers, i.e. presenters who had initially confirmed their presence, but did not turn up at the conference for reasons unknown to us. We have heard similar experiences in other working groups. It is too early to say whether this is a new trend, but it may affect our acceptance policies for the next conference.

Future Plans and Activities
The working group is planning meetings for upcoming ENHR conferences.
Because we expect that turnout will be slightly lower at the 2017 conference in Albania, we consider organising a joint sessions with other working groups at this conference. The co-ordinators are also considering opportunities for a themed working group session outside the yearly ENHR conference, e.g. in the second half of 2017 or Spring 2018, around one of the topics outline in our WG central theme.

Policy Implications
Many of the researchers involved in the WG are conducting cutting-edge research, sometimes with close involvement of policymakers.
In light of the complexities of making an impact on urban policies, both locally and nationally (let alone on EU level), we feel that we need to continue or even strengthen our efforts to disseminate research findings among policymakers. The rise of Urban Living Labs (ULLs) is a quickly rising phenomenon that we will take into account for this matter, not only in (EU-funded) research proposals, but also in terms of research.