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Unravelling the interwoven dimensions of geographic inequalities


Chair: Professor Christina Beatty (Sheffield Hallam University)

Speakers: Professor Patrick Sharkey (Princeton University) and Professor Gwilym Pryce (University of Sheffield).

While there has been growing interest in the nature and impact of geographical inequalities, there is a need to deepen our understanding of the interconnected causal mechanisms underlying spatial inequalities, their impacts, and the role of policy. This session will include presentations on new ways of looking at spatial inequalities and how to tackle them.

In his talk Breaking Down the Barricades... Professor Pat Sharkey will explore how the link between geography and inequality is growing in the US through a variety of mechanisms, not least the hidden effects of government policies that serve to create invisible barricades that quarantine disadvantaged communities in the least desirable neighbourhoods and protect advantaged groups. Land use policy, the formation of increasingly local governance arrangements that undermine cross-subsidisation, the designation of school districts that disproportionately benefit affluent children, and the establishment of density zoning, all serve to reinforce spatial inequality.

In his presentation Inequality is Personal: Towards a Person-Centred Relational Approach to Spatial Inequality, Professor Gwilym Pryce will propose a new conceptual framework for understanding spatial inequality. He will distinguish between Extrinsic and Intrinsic spatial inequality. Extrinsic Spatial Inequality refers to inequalities that arise due to spatial differences between groups in geographical access to amenities and in exposure to disamenities and risks such as noise, pollution, flooding, and crime. Intrinsic Spatial Inequality, on the other hand, refers to inequalities that arise within groups due to their spatial configuration relative to other groups. These are inequalities that arise from spatial discontinuities and asymmetries in residential sorting outcomes - particularly "social frontiers" in the ethnic and social mix. Professor Pryce will argue that while both types of inequality are intrinsically relational, the latter bring with them an added psychological dimension. This means that we need a new framework for understanding inequality, one that emphasises the personal, relational and spatial aspects of inequality. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2021 - 15:00 to 16:30

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