The spatial dimension of increased income gaps, polarization and social exclusion manifested through patterns of segregation has put emphasis on what impact spatial configuration may have on justice in cities (Hanson, 2000. Hillier, 1996; Massey, 2005. Young, 1990). Within sociology, economic and cultural geography and critical urban theory both societal and moral costs of spatially related injustices manifested through segregation (Franzén, 2001; Wacquant, 1999) and uneven distribution of urban resources and rights (Fainstein, 2010; Harvey, 2000) are emphasised. Traditionally research focused upon residential segregation, but since justice in a spatial context implies a great array of urban places, segregation is here investigated in public space (Franzén, 2001; Legeby, 2013). In terms of urban form and urban public space justice is here defined in terms of the opportunities that the spatial configuration offers its citizens when it comes to co-present situations with non-locals. The argument relies in that urban form may influence the formation of social networks that in turn could have an impact on life chances through the opportunities one have; on the labour market (Zenou and Östh, 2006), in achieving information on vacant apartments (Granovetter, 1983), to participate in the negotiation of norms and values in urban culture (Zukin, 1995) - and subsequently the participation in the formation of democratic institutions (Giddens, 1984). Investigating the spatial dimension of justice accordingly require both a social and a spatial analysis. The spatial analysis aims to describe the spatial conditions for co-presence between locals and non-locals to occur, meanwhile the social analyses highlights the composition and intensity in the actual co-present group. The result of the study indicates a correlation between spatial and social performance, where the spatially more central public spaces also had higher intensity and heterogeneity in the co-present group between locals and non-locals. The current situation in Gothenburg is accordingly argued unjust in relation to the investigated target areas characterised by high unemployment and social exclusion, which are also located in more isolated parts of the urban network. Accordingly the spatial configuration is disfavouring encounters between non-locals, which is argued important to break patterns of exclusion and encourage participation in societal processes. Accordingly the study highlights a lack of understanding of what impact urban design and spatial configuration may have on social outcomes, particularly in contexts where social isolation and spatial segregation coincide.
The Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London , 2015.
10th International Space Syntax Symposium, SSS 2015; University College London (UCL)London; United Kingdom