The right given to everyone (2) – Why is the right to a neighbourhood important?
In the last post, I was talking about What is the right to a neighbourhood and where that idea came from. I would like to go further steps from there and sharing of this Idea suggested by French philosopher Henry Lefebvre and built up by Emily Talen.
What we’ve been taught in Global Pandemic
Although the traditionally defined feature of neighborhoods may seem to have lost relevance, as we learned from the global pandemic crisis, The importance of the neighborhood was heightened during the pandemic as residents became constricted and were unable to travel far. In other words, the need for us to gather has become stronger and clearer. Thanks to advances in technology, we are allowed to sprawl out, and work without commuting. Therefore, the use and planning of public space and its engagements have been required.
She explains 4 reasons why the right to a neighborhood is important beyond how they bring people down or efficiently communicate one’s locale. Firstly, Neighborhoods matter for giving a sense of identity. Secondly, neighborhoods are providing access leads to opportunity (Low access blocks opportunity). Thirdly, it matters for providing social connections that would be your main source of social life, and lastly, it is matter because they are providing a means through which collective action can take place.
A thriving ethnic enclave, however, is likely to become a segregated community. A recent study shows that peers of a particular ethnic or cultural group collocate in close proximity to each other and residentially segregated from the natives. (Klaesson & Oner, 2021). Concentration of ethnic peers and separation from the natives may result in undesirable outcomes through “lock-in” effects, where immigrants remain at a certain distance from the natives and opportunities (Borjas, 2000).
How can ‘the rights to a neighborhood’ be achieved?
The only practical way to mitigate social segregation is to spread the wealth and try to build more economically diverse neighborhoods. The Urban Institute’s study showed that more inclusive, or less segregated, regions have higher average incomes and educational attainment and lower homicide rates (Acs et al., 2017). Moreover, studies of the “Moving to Opportunity” program, in which families were given assistance to move from low-income to middle-income neighborhoods, showed a marked improvement in self-reported well-being. Moving to a neighborhood whose poverty rate was 13% points lower was associated with an increase in self-reported quality of life equivalent to an increase of $13,000 in household income (Ludwig et al., 2012)
According to Talen, the right to a neighborhood is the right to constitute neighborhoods that are more than labels and more than social segregation. As recent studies have shown, therefore, we could identify the place with the right to a neighbourhood is where they have a more integrated community that gives better opportunities for jobs, social connections, and civic recourses. It is become key to promoting a wide range of positive outcomes for all residents.
– Borjas, G. J. (2000) ‘Ethnic enclaves and assimilation’, Swedish Economic policy review, 7(2), pp. 89-122.
– Cortright, J. (2018) ‘Why integration matters’, City Commentary, 14 June. Available at: https://cityobservatory.org/why_integration_matters/ (Accessed: 21 February 2022)
– Jacobs, J. (1961) The Death and Life of Great American Cities: New York: Vintage.
– Klaesson, K., Oner, O. (2021) ‘Ethnic enclaves and segregation—self-employment and employment patterns among forced migrants’, Small Bus Exon, 56, pp. 985-1006.
– Lefebvre, H. (1996) ‘The Right to the City’, Writings on cities: Oxford: Blackwell.
– Ludwig, J. et al. (2012). ‘Neighborhood effects on the long-term well-being of low-income adults.’ Science, 337(6101). pp. 1505-1510.
– Talen, E. (2021) ‘The right to a neighborhood’, Reclaiming the Right to the City, pp24-28.
– The Urban Institute. (2017). ‘The Cost of Segregation’, National Trends and the Case of Chicago, 1990–2010. [online] Chicago: Gregory Acs, Rolf Pendall, Mark Treskon, Amy Khare. Available at: <https://www.urban.org/research/publication/cost-segregation> (Accessed 21 February 2022).
– Walker, A. (2018) ‘Why U.S. cities need more multi-racial, mixed-income neighborhoods’, Curbed, 21 August. Available at: <https://archive.curbed.com/2018/8/21/17759380/segregation-diversity-neighborhoods-mixed-income#comments> (Accessed 21 February 2022).