Planning and social polarisation

Champness, Philip R (1975) Planning and social polarisation. MPhil(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Social polarisation refers to the process of increasing geographical separation of social classes. As early as l84l a Dundee minister noted that the railway enabled the more affluent to live in the country while working in the town, and that this would turn the city into 'one great workshop, with the familites of its workmen wholly detached from the notice or sympathy of the families of any upper class' (quoted in Ashworth, 1954). Subsequent studies have agreed with the substance, if not the sentiment of this observation, their broad thesis being that the inner city contains an increasingly large proportion of low income groups while upper income households are found towards the outer limits of the urban area. More recently the return of upper income groups to the inner city, especially London, has given rise to fears that it will contain a potentially harmful mixture of the very rich and the very poor. Since the early Nineteenth Century, planners and reformers have attempted to create socially 'mixed' or 'balanced' communities. This aim has formed a substantial part of a planning ideology that holds that planning is 'providing the physical basis for a better urban community life' (Foley, 1960). Initially the idea of social mix was applied to new communities: the model towns and villages of the Nineteenth Century; the post-war New Towns. The overriding motivation was to derive a more fraternal society. More recently, planners have considered the effects of polarisation and the possibility of balance in existing cities. Their main concern has been to derive a more egalitarian society. This study of polarisation will be concerned with the distribution of social class, as measured by occupation and income, in the city. Part I outlines the models of socio-geographical patterns in the city, and analyses the causes of those patterns in terms of the operation of economic, social and political constraints on household location decisions. Changing distributions are identified in case studies which contribute to the debate on social trends foreseen by some recent planning exercises. Part II traces the development of planning theories of social mix, and assesses the extent to which the New Towns have succeeded in creating new residential patterns. Part III draws the two previous sections together by discussing the possible effects of the distribution of social classes on goals pursued by the planning process. Some alternative housing and employment policies are outlined in an analysis of strategies for enhanced geographical and social mobility.

Item Type: Thesis (MPhil(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Keywords: Urban planning, Social structure
Date of Award: 1975
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1975-74094
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 23 Sep 2019 15:33
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2019 15:33

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