Divided Cities

Understanding Intra-urban Inequalities

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This report provides an assessment of spatial inequalities and segregation in cities and metropolitan areas from multiple perspectives. The chapters in the report focus on a subset of OECD countries and non-member economies, and provide new insights on cross-cutting issues for city neighbourhooods, such as the patterns of segregation across income groups, migrant concentration and diversity across cities of different sizes, the role of public transport accessibility in widening intra-city inequalities, and the expected path dependency on outcomes related to segregation. The report also discusses methodological alternatives for measuring different dimensions of inequality and segregation across cities, and highlights the role of public policies in bridging urban divides and the relevance of the scale of analysis in order to make sound international comparisons.




Cities are spaces of diversity where people of different backgrounds come together to share the benefits of proximity. In these diverse spaces, the daily experience of a given individual in terms of her contact with other socio-economic groups and her access to city services widely differs across people of different backgrounds. For some, their usual dayto- day social contact in their neighbourhood, workplace and leisure spaces can be confined to people that share roughly the same socio-economic characteristics, although the city they inhabit may be extremely diverse. Such separation is also known as spatial segregation.


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