IGU Urban Commission, Tel Aviv, 2010


Université Paris 1, Panthéon Sorbonne, UMR 8504 CNRS


The other Barcelona: Social segregation and urban mobility in a new era.


At least since the last decade of the 20th century Barcelona has occupied the centre of the urban scene and has regarded from around the world as a model for regional and town planning, urban design, urban regeneration and urban policies. Less attention however has been paid to the relationship between economic and spatial changes, and the social structure of this city.

The aim of this paper is to analyse some hidden dimensions of the social and ethnic structure of Barcelona and its evolution over the last three decades by focusing particular attention to the relationship between social structure, new ethnic migration and new forms of social division and ethnic segregation.

Particular attention is paid to the relative concentrations of ethnic and social groups in Barcelona between 1981 and 2001 and their distribution in intra-urban space, the degree of heterogeneity of the population, and the levels of segregation. Segregation is analysed using census data and the special data of intra-metropolitan and intra-urban residential mobility collected by the City of Barcelona.

The measurement of segregation is made by combining static indexes of segregation with dynamic indeces derived from the study of residential location of the flows of inter-urban and intra-urban mobility. This method allows us to pay attention to the dialectics between mobility and social structure.

The quantitative and qualitative analyses of segregation for the period 1981-2001 and inter- and intra-urban mobility in Barcelona during the period 1981-2008 give new insights into the social structure of this city and its dynamics in terms of the relationship of ethnicity, social class and location, social polarisation, succession, gentrification and social mix. Particular attention is given to the historic centre where the changes are found to be most marked.

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