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The Dual City and the Poor: Social Polarisation, Social Segregation and Life Chances


  • Eva T. van Kempen

    (Department of Human Geography, University of Amsterdam, Nieuwe Prinsengracht 130, 1018 VZ Amsterdam, The Netherlands)


Despite its appeal and apparent clarity the dual city idea hides a rather vague and confused image of the post-industrial city and its socio-spatial patterning. This paper focuses on the meaning of the dual city as a spatial model and its relation to the modern poverty idea. First, the presuppositions of the dual city concept are discussed, underlining the ambiguous relations between the concepts of economic restructuring, social polarisation and social stratification and the socio-spatial divide the dual city suggests. Evidence from the Netherlands is used to sustain the argument. Secondly, the concept of life chances is introduced to clarify the role of the spatial concentration of poverty in shaping the urban poverty problem. Following the discerned three dimensions of the life chances concept as a lead, it is argued that the spatial concentration of poverty is both an outcome and a part of the restricted life chances of the urban poor.

Suggested Citation

  • Eva T. van Kempen, 1994. "The Dual City and the Poor: Social Polarisation, Social Segregation and Life Chances," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 31(7), pages 995-1015, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:urbstu:v:31:y:1994:i:7:p:995-1015

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    Cited by:

    1. Frédéric Gaschet & Julie Le Gallo, 2005. "The Spatial Dimension Of Segregation - A Case Study In Four French Urban Areas, 1990-1999 ," ERSA conference papers ersa05p704, European Regional Science Association.
    2. Roberto Rocco, 2012. "Location Patterns of Advanced Producer Services Firms: The Case of São Paulo," Chapters, in: Marina van Geenhuizen & Peter Nijkamp (ed.),Creative Knowledge Cities, chapter 15, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    3. Shenjing He & Fulong Wu & Chris Webster & Yuting Liu, 2010. "Poverty Concentration and Determinants in China's Urban Low‐income Neighbourhoods and Social Groups," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 34(2), pages 328-349, June.
    4. Rafael Costa & Helga A. G. Valk, 2018. "Ethnic and Socioeconomic Segregation in Belgium: A Multiscalar Approach Using Individualised Neighbourhoods," European Journal of Population, Springer;European Association for Population Studies, vol. 34(2), pages 225-250, May.
    5. Vania Ceccato & Robert Haining & Paola Signoretta, 2001. "Exploring offence statistics in stockholm city using spatial analysis tools," ERSA conference papers ersa01p97, European Regional Science Association.
    6. Arielle John & Virgil Henry Storr, 2011. "The Sociability and Morality of Market Settlements," Chapters, in: David Emanuel Andersson & Åke E. Andersson & Charlotta Mellander (ed.),Handbook of Creative Cities, chapter 20, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    7. Vasiliy A. Anikin & Yulia P. Lezhnina & Svetlana V. Mareeva & Nataliya N. Tikhonovà, 2017. "Social Stratification by Life Chances: Evidence from Russia," HSE Working papers WP BRP 80/SOC/2017, National Research University Higher School of Economics.

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