Exclusion based on spatial factors

Spatial inequalities include disparities between rural and urban areas, and also between geographically advantaged and disadvantaged areas. Spatial disadvantage may result from the remoteness of a location which makes it physically difficult for its inhabitants to participate in broader socio-economic processes. Or it may operate through the segregation of urban environments and the ‘subcultures’ of violence, criminality, drug dependence and squalor, which can often characterise urban slums and excluded neighbourhoods. In some cases, ghettos of marginalised religious or ethnic groups can form as the direct result of communal violence.  In many countries, these disparities are increasing, partly as a consequence of the uneven impact of trade and globalisation. These disparities are particularly worrying where they overlap with political or ethnic divisions.

The spatial dimension of exclusion cannot be entirely separated from its resource and identity dimensions since it is usually culturally and economically marginalised groups that inhabit physically deprived spaces. Activities of economic and political importance are often concentrated in urban centres. These centres also benefit from a constant inflow of new material, financial and human resources from the peripheries. Government policies can also be biased towards these areas. As a result of this, and the constant leakage of resources to the central regions, peripheral areas often have difficulty in self-sustaining economic development.

Kanbur, R., & Venables, A. (2005). Spatial Inequality and Development: An Overview of UNU-WIDER Project.
The UNU-Wider project on ‘Spatial disparities in development’ has analyzed evidence on the extent of spatial inequalities in over 50 developing countries. The research finds that spatial inequalities are high, with disparities between rural and urban areas, and also between geographically advantaged and disadvantaged regions. In many countries such disparities are increasing, partly as a consequence of the uneven impact of trade openness and globalization. While there are efficiency gains from the concentration of economic activity in urban centres and in coastal districts, the associated regional inequalities are a major contributor to overall inequality. They are particularly worrying if they align with political or ethnic divisions. The broad outline of appropriate policy for managing high and rising spatial disparities is also clear. The case for policy interventions to ensure a more spatially equitable allocation of infrastructure and public services, and for policies to ensure freer migration, has been made powerfully in the papers in this project.
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Higgins, K., Bird, K., & Harris, D. (2010). Policy Responses to the Spatial Dimensions of Poverty (Working Paper). London / Manchester: Overseas Development Institute and the Chronic Poverty Research Centre.
How should public policy address the spatial dimensions of poverty? This paper reviews policy documents and eight country cases to identify how the spatial dimensions of poverty are reflected in development policies. Lessons include the need to: 1) balance universalism and targeting; 2) manage the form and processes of integration in the economy; 3) use both short-term and longer-term policies; and 4) respond to different scales and settings of spatial poverty traps.
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Tam, T., & Jiang, J. (2015). Divergent Urban-rural Trends in College Attendance State Policy Bias and Structural Exclusion in China. Sociology of Education, 88(2), 160–180.
In China, difference in college attendance has widened since 1998 between urban and rural holders of residency permits (based on the hukou residence system). Prevailing explanations have emphasised urban students’ advantages in school quality and household financial resources. However, this statistical analysis of 28 districts over 14 cohorts (1989-2002) reveals the key reason to be that the increase in opportunities for vocational education has happened quasi-exclusively in cities, which rural students cannot easily access. As a result, the dynamic has benefited mostly lower-achieving urban students. State policy has thus structurally excluded rural upper-secondary school students from the path to college.
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Fischer, A. M. (2005). State Growth and Social Exclusion in Tibet: The Challenges of Recent Economic Growth. Coppenhagen: Nordic Institute of Asian Studies.
How has economic growth and transformation in China influenced structural marginality in Tibetan areas? This book uses a macro socio-economic perspective to trace how economic growth and transformation interact with social change and population transitions in the Tibetan areas, and how these processes influence the emergence or exacerbation of structural marginality and social exclusion. It argues that the most pressing economic issues facing the Tibetan regions relate to the socio-economic marginalisation of the majority of Tibetans from rapid state-led growth.
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Often, vulnerable groups can become concentrated in areas of low investment, poor land and lack of opportunities. These areas include slums, which often lack health and education services, as well as infrastructure. Not only do slums house vulnerable people, they are also inherently vulnerable places.

United Nations Human Settlements Programme. (2003). Urbanization Trends and Forces Shaping Slums. In The Challenge of Slums: Global Report on Human Settlements (Netherlands). UN-HABITAT.
Why do cities take certain forms and the poor congregate in particular locations? How do macro or external forces act on the cities responsible for slum formation? This paper examines urbanisation trends and the forces that shape slums. It is argued the internal spatial organisation of cities can be seen as ‘ecological’ competition, with the strongest groups taking the more desirable land.
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Khan, S. (2009). Urbanisation and Urban Poverty in Bangladesh (GSDRC Helpdesk Research Report). Birmingham: GSDRC, University of Birmingham.
Access to housing and security of tenure is a key issue for the urban poor of Bangladesh. Often they are forced to settle in informal settlements on marginal lands where they fall prey to mastaans, or middle men, who charge extortionate rents for land and services and often use coercive methods. These settlements often have little or no access to basic services such as water and electricity, and what access is provided tends to be stretched far beyond capacity. They are particularly vulnerable during monsoon rains. The inhabitants also live under the constant threat of eviction. The urban poor also tend to work informally, with low wages and lack of job security, contributing to the prevalence of child labour. Rates of unemployment are often quite low in urban areas, but this tends to mask high levels of underemployment.
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Chandhoke, N. (2010). Some Reflections on the Notion of an Inclusive Political Pact: A Perspective from Ahmedabad (Working Paper No.  71). London: Crisis States Research Centre
Homelessness is a manifestation and consequence of social exclusion, and it also reinforces homeless persons’ exclusion in multiple dimensions.
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Fiorati, R. C., Carretta, R. Y. D., Kebbe, L. M., da Silva Xavier, J. J., & Lobato, B. C. (2014). Inequalities and Social Exclusion among Homeless People: A Brazilian Study. American International Journal of Social Science, 3(6).
This in-depth ethnographic study with 15 homeless people in São Paulo finds that research participants’ households had suffered from social vulnerability and poverty over past generations. Their family relations were marked by violence and disintegration. In their daily lives, participants found themselves in close proximity to violence and crime. They experienced inequities, a lack of access to decent living standards, and a risk of early death. Public policies, assistance and healthcare for this population have lacked stability. Homeless person’s problems have tended to be medicalised whereas, the authors argue, homelessness results from historical and social determinants.
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