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Padding the Bunker: Strategies of Middle-class Disaffiliation and Colonisation in the City

Rowland Atkinson
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Rowland Atkinson: Housing and Community Research Unit, School of Sociology and Social Work, University of Tasmania, Private Bag 17, Hobart, Tas 7001, Australia,

Urban Studies, 2006, vol. 43, issue 4, 819-832

Abstract: Residential segregation has often been seen as a significant and intractable urban problem. Empirical analyses have focused on the clustering and social impacts of concentrated deprivation and ethnicity, while explanations of segregation have generally looked at the role of income, housing markets, and wider social and institutional discrimination. This paper attempts to build on such preoccupations by considering current urban transformations to theorise the recent middle-class colonisation of cities in the UK. Segregation is seen here not just as the concentration of an urban poor or particular ethnic groups, but also as representing an extended spatial bifurcation between the choices of the affluent to withdraw into increasingly insulated enclaves, while places of poverty contain populations away from this increasingly fearful, yet tendentiously urbanising, middle class. Using a series of case studies, a typology is developed of increasing disaffiliation as a prelude to a further debate on the feasibility of encouraging social diversity in the city.

Date: 2006
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