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Space and exclusion: the relationship between physical segregation and economic marginalisation in the urban environment
The aim of this project was to further the understanding of how the design of cities has an impact on the location of poverty areas and to research how changes in design over time lead to concentrations of poverty and immigration in particular urban areas. The aim of the study was to inform the design of contemporary urban areas in such a way as to ameliorate the negative effects of living in poverty areas. The research used space syntax methods, which are used to create objective representations of urban form. These methods enable researchers to analyse the fine detail of the built environment in relation to how people use the city in their daily lives (such as movement patterns, land use, poverty and crime). The analysis used a Geographical Information System to layer the space syntax spatial model of the street system along with a variety of sources of spatially accurate data, including Charles Booths maps of poverty in 19th century London and census data. Existing space syntax methods for modelling street networks as complex geometric and topological systems were advanced during this study, which enabled researchers to develop new, more precise techniques for measuring the finest changes in urban form. Focussing on two areas in the east end and west end of London known for their high levels of poverty, the analysis found that they contained a variety of poverty classes. The research showed that the spatial location of these classes was strongly related to their physical accessibility: the poorest classes were in the most inaccessible parts of the area. Moreover, the areas overall were found to be relatively disconnected from the city as a whole. Analysis of change over a ten year period indicated that there was a circular influence between social and spatial change. It showed that slum clearances had the effect of improving the economic situation of inhabitants of the immediate area, but this masked the fact that the poorest people contained within the rehabilitated areas had probably moved to cheaper accommodation deeper within the district, then were replaced by others. Another larger scale outcome of spatial change was found: the areas surrounding the slum clearances had a marked drop in economic situation an apparent ripple effect resulting from spatial change - and an indication that the improvement of spatial organisation may not have had a profound impact on the poorest classes. A study of immigrant settlement patterns indicated that there was a positive relationship between length of time in the country, economic situation, and physical accessibility of place of residence.
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