News & Events

Cosmopolis lunch seminar with Rafael Costa (VUB): Ethnic and socio-economic segregation in Belgium: a multi-scalar approach using individualised neighbourhoods

23 November 2017 , 12.00h-13.00h VUB - Pleinlaan 2, 1050 Brussels, Building F, Room F 4.66

Residential segregation is a persistent reality in Europe and increasingly a matter of public policy concern (Bolt, 2009; Kleinhans, 2004; Galster, 2007). In Belgium, both ethnic and socioeconomic segregation are high compared to other European countries (Musterd, 2005). A considerable share of the Belgian urban population lives in disadvantaged neighbourhoods, and urban deprivation is often associated with the concentration of ethnic origin groups, as in the case of the inner city of Brussels (De Winter and Musterd, 1998). The vast majority of the existing studies have examined residential segregation based on predefined administrative units such as municipalities and statistical sectors. Such units often differ in size, function and distribution across different regions and over time. This problem, known as Modifiable Areal Unit Problem (MAUP), affects any quantitative analyses of segregation (Openshaw, 1984; Wong, 2004).

In the project ‘Residential segregation in five European countries’ (ResSegr), funded by JPI Urban Europe, we use innovative data and methods in order to produce more accurate measures of segregation in Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden. Our research benefits from newly available geocoded data, which allow us to employ a multiscalar approach of segregation based on individualised neighbourhoods. The aim of this presentation is to introduce our approach and our ongoing studies within the ResSegr project, and to discuss the potential use of the method and data for the study of segregation.

Speaker: Rafael Costa  VUB- Interface Demography

Rafael Costa is a postdoctoral researcher at Interface Demography (Vrije Universiteit Brussel). With a background in economics and demography, his research concentrates on spatial demography, diffusion processes, and the influence of space and social networks on demographic behaviour and individual outcomes. In his PdD thesis he constructed a unique historical dataset and investigated diffusion processes in the Belgian fertility transition (1886—1935), adapting different quantitative methods for space-time analysis and multilevel modelling. Since 2015 he has turned his focus to contemporary themes, namely residential segregation and socio-spatial disparities, and the impact of neighbourhoods and networks on individuals’ socioeconomic attainment.