As a first step towards the exploration of the particularities urban social exclusion in Spain, the research presented here evaluates the significance of the urban territorial factor at neighbourhood level in order to develop relevant conclusions for the design of urban policies. After comparing the structure and dynamics of socio-spatial inequalities in five large Spanish cities (Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao, Seville and Murcia), we analyse how different disadvantaged neighbourhoods – inner city districts and peripheral housing estates – affect the life trajectories of different vulnerable social groups: long-term unemployed males, undocumented immigrants, single mothers, old people living alone and young people with a low education level and job problems. We identify the existence of significant differences between inner city districts and peripheral housing estates regarding the way they affect the life chances of their inhabitants. Furthermore, we show how different social groups are unequally affected by the characteristics of the neighbourhood in which they live. This all leads us to stress the importance of urban public policies being sensitive to the diversity of sociospatial conditions of cities. © 2008 Taylor & Francis.
- Area effects
- Disadvantaged neighbourhoods
- Social exclusion
- Territorial opportunity structures
- Urban policy