The Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis


CASA Seminar: Forty Years of Neighbourhood Change in Ethnic Diversity and Segregation in Britain

22 January 2020, 5:00 pm–6:00 pm

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Andrew Maclachlan


26 Bedford Way

The seminar begins with an overview of the evolving micro-geographies of ethnic diversity and residential segregation over a forty-year period (1971-2011), exploiting an innovative resource, PopChange, to explore Britain’s changing population in greater spatial (1km by 1km grid cells) and temporal (1971-2011) detail than has previously been possible. The next part of the paper focuses specifically on the most ethnically diverse neighbourhoods in England. These ‘multi-ethnic neighbourhoods’ are an important marker of increased inter-ethnic contact, yet little is known about their spatial extent and the dynamics of their growth. Census data for 1991- 2011 are used to explore how neighbourhood-level diversity has changed during a period of considerable increase in ethnic diversity at the national scale. A conservative classification of multi-ethnicity is employed, requiring the significant neighbourhood presence of at least three different ethnic groups; only about 4 percent of all Lower Super Output Areas met this criterion in 2011. To what extent did these highly diverse areas grow, and what is the geography of that growth? Who lives in multi-ethnic neighbourhoods, and how has that changed over time? Which types of areas did these neighbourhoods transition from? For example, were they formerly low- or moderately diverse, and which groups dominated these locales? Are multi-ethnic spaces here to stay, or are they unstable in their ethnic composition? And what are the demographic and housing dynamics associated with their (in)stability?

The paper draws on collaborative work across two projects, with (i) Richard Wright (Dartmouth College) and Mark Ellis (University of Washington), and (ii) Chris Lloyd (Queen’s University Belfast).

About the Speaker

Gemma Catney

at Queen's University Belfast

Dr Gemma Catney is a Population and Social Geographer with research interests in ethnic residential segregation and diversity, ethnic inequalities, and internal migration. Gemma's main research focuses include (i) the changing residential geographies of ethnic diversity, mixing and segregation; (ii) the relationship between ethnic concentrations and neighbourhood deprivation; (iii) labour market inequalities between ethnic groups, in particular the role of place in influencing employment outcomes; and (iv) the multiple scales of neighbourhood identity. Gemma has published widely in leading international journals, and her research has attracted funding from the Leverhulme Trust, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Economic and Social Research Council, British Academy, the Royal Geographical Society with the Institute of British Geographers, and the Health and Social Care Board. Gemma's research has been used as evidence in government reviews, cited in numerous policy reports, and featured in the national and local press. In 2019, she was the recipient of the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers) Gill Memorial Award, for outstanding early career research.

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