1st Edition

Cities, Economic Inequality and Justice Reflections and Alternative Perspectives

    128 Pages 14 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    128 Pages 14 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Increasing economic inequality in cities, and the spatial translation of that into more segregated neighbourhoods, is top of the political agenda in developed countries. While the overall living standards have increased in the last century, the focus has now shifted from poverty to economic differences, with a particular focus on the gap between the very poor and the (ultra-)rich.

    The authors observe a common view among policy-makers and researchers alike: that urban-economic inequality and segregation are increasing; that this increase is bad; and that money and people (in the case of segregation) need to be redistributed in response. In six compact chapters, this book enriches and broadens the debate. Chapters bring together the literature on the social effects of economic inequality and segregation and question whether there are sizable effects and what their direction (positive or negative) is. The often conflated concepts of economic inequality (and segregation) and social injustice is disentangled and the moral implications are reflected on.

    The book is essential reading for students and academics of Planning Theory, Planning Ethics, Urban Geography, Urban Economics, Economic Geography and Urban Sociology.

    List of illustrations


    Chapter 1: Introducing the book

    1.1 Reflecting on the current debate

    1.2 The contribution and the limitations of this book

    1.3 Outline

    Chapter 2: Causes of urban-economic inequality and segregation

    2.1 Macro processes and inequality

    2.2 Inequality between cities

    2.3 Growing inequalities in cities

    2.4 Economic segregation in cities

    Chapter 3: Reflecting on the measurement

    3.1 How to measure inequality?

    3.1.1 The Gini coefficient

    3.1.2 Limits to the scope

    3.2 How to measure segregation?

    3.2.1 The dissimilarity index

    3.2.2 Sensitivity to measurement choices

    3.2.3 Limits to the scope

    3.3 Inequality and segregation of what?

    3.3.1 Wage, income or capital

    3.3.2 From gross incomes to standard of living

    3.4 A dynamic perspective on inequality and segregation

    Chapter 4: Reflecting on the (negative) societal impact

    4.1 The negative impact of economic inequality

    4.1.1 Effects on economic growth

    4.1.2 Health and social effects

    4.2 The negative impact of economic segregation

    4.2.1 Mechanisms underlying neighbourhood effects

    4.2.2 Identification of neighbourhood effects

    4.2.3 From individual effects to city level effects

    Chapter 5: Reflecting on the moral implications

    5.1 Equality and distributional justice

    5.2 The pie metaphor

    5.3 Good and bad economic inequality

    5.4 The impracticability of aiming for economic equality

    5.5 The same or enough? About the moral relevance of economic inequality

    5.6 The moral relevance of (economic) segregation

    5.7 Reflecting on the material dimension of economic inequality and segregation

    Chapter 6: Reflecting on urban policy

    6.1 Summary of the book

    6.2 Redistribution of money

    6.3 Redistribution of people




    Edwin Buitelaar, PhD, is a professor of land and real estate development at Utrecht University and a senior researcher of urban development at the PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency.

    Anet Weterings, PhD, is a senior researcher of regional economic development at the PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency.

    Roderik Ponds, PhD, is a senior researcher at Atlas voor Gemeenten, and a lecturer on Urban Economics at TIAS Business School.

    'I love the scope and ambition of this brave, well written and thoughtful book... Truly useful scholarship on the subject will find rich supporting ideas in this book, which offer intellectual scaffolding to help design specific institutions. The book gives direction for addressing those spatial inequalities that, for evidence-based reasons, need to be addressed, while leaving others to take their natural course. It is essential reading for policy-makers and urban professionals and for students studying cities from disciplinary perspectives of geography, economics, sociology, political science, planning and architecture and other fields.' — Professor Chris Webster, The University of Hong Kong.

    ‘This book by three experts gives a much-needed boost to the research on the increasing inequality and segregation in cities. A topic that is not only of great academic relevance but also crucial for the future of cities. Highly recommended reading for researchers and policymakers alike.’ — Harry Garretsen, Professor of International Economics & Business, University of Groningen, The Netherlands.