A growing number studies of European and North American cities have shown that poverty is moving away from urban centres in a process known as the decentralisation (or suburbanisation) of poverty. These findings raise important questions about the impact on the quality of life for poorer residents who face financial constraints with respect to their access to transport. This paper investigates the implications of decentralisation of poverty for inequality in access to amenities and employment.
We define “access” in terms of distance to these features. Using data on England and Wales, we find that the decentralisation of poverty has led to greater inequalities between poor and non-poor households in access to both employment and amenities in large urban areas.
We also provide two methodological innovations: (1) we address the long-standing methodological problem of measuring centralisation for cities with multiple urban centres by developing a generalised formula for the RCI (Relative Centralisation Index) that allows us to study cities that have multiple centres.
(2) We demonstrate how OpenStreetMap can be used to identify urban centres. This approach allows us to automate the identification of urban centres (otherwise a laborious process reliant on local knowledge).
This paper was published in the Journal of Urban Studies in August 2019 and can be found in full below: