Modelling social boundaries and the interconnectedness of place

This project, carried out by Dr Nema Dean and Dr Jonathan Minton, aimed to move beyond simple use of social mix as an indicator of residential segregation. An area can have a high degree of social mix but a low level of social integration and two areas can be very different and yet have a shallow/blurred boundary, while other contrasting communities have precipitous frontiers often associated with social tension. Meanwhile, other neighbourhoods perceived to be very similar or socially/economically connected can be located far apart. Throughout this project, the researchers developed and applied a variety of cutting-edge techniques for revealing the hidden boundaries and connections in the urban social landscape. This involved new ways of defining neighbourhoods and housing market areas that allow for asymmetries in social variation and which permit both open and closed boundaries. The goal was to derive measures that allow us to identify boundary effects, both in terms of proximity to a boundary, and the severity/magnitude of that boundary.


Related to this is a recent article published in the Journal of Urban Studies in January 2017 written by Dr Nema Dean and Professor Gwilym Pryce – Is the housing market blind to religion? A perceived substitutability approach to homophily and social integration

Journal: Urban Studies

DOI: 0.1177/0042098016668779

Pages: 1-13

Media coverage:

Herald Scotland’s Social Affairs correspondent Stephen Naysmith wrote a piece on the findings from this research in March 2017

Levels of religious integration sway house buyers, study finds


Image: Flickr – Fablo Vennl