Disuguaglianze, “questione urbana” e coesione socio–territoriale. Esperienze europee e nord–americane a confronto

Translated title of the contribution: [Autom. eng. transl.] Inequalities, "urban issue" and socio-territorial cohesion. Comparing European and North American experiences

Paolo Molinari*

*Corresponding author

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Due to the economic, social, and spatial consequences caused by the economic crisis, which started in 2008, the topic of inequality within the most developed countries receives great attention nowadays. The economic crisis, the most serious in many decades, is producing important consequences also within countries that had already reached high levels of collective wellness and social protection. The aim of this paper is a preliminary consideration from a geographical perspective on the increase of inequalities in some developed areas, in particular Italy, France, European Union and Canada, highlighting the spatial dimensions of this phenomenon within the urban environment, because cities are key centers for the development of individuals’ potential. In general, it can be observed that the discomfort produced by social recession is reinforced by the appearing of new forms of spatial “impoverishment”, which nourish and strengthen inequalities, risking to affect the socio–territorial cohesion. Nowadays, the evolution of poverty forms inscribes itself, in fact, into space with extremely diverse modalities. The “traditional” poverty profiles allowed the detection of some areas of concentration and specific zones of deprivation (ghettos, poor or emarginated urban enclaves, more undeveloped rural areas). On the contrary, the new poverty profiles are definitely more liquid and changeable, in this way making attempts to define and individualize deprived spaces more difficult; or else, these difficulties can depend on the territorial scale of observation and analysis, that can affect the territorial dimensions assumed by poverty and social exclusion (Boulineau, Bonerandi–Richard 2014). In addition, the incessant and widespread suburbanization contributes to the diversification of poverty spatial forms. In addition, the national welfare state models allow facing these problems through various intervention systems, with consequences that deeply affect social wellness and spatial justice. In geographical literature (for example Séchet, 1996) it is highlighted that with the presence of inequalities and social imbalances, serious problems of managing and governing urban space arise. Moreover, these problems risk evolving into genuine socio–territorial pathologies because the imbalances that materialize in the space will tend to persist and increase. Today, many cities, which have long been considered spaces of social and cultural integration, foment thus a new ‘urban issue’ (Boulineau, Bonerandi–Richard, 2014; Cassiers, Kesteloot, 2012).
Translated title of the contribution[Autom. eng. transl.] Inequalities, "urban issue" and socio-territorial cohesion. Comparing European and North American experiences
Original languageItalian
Title of host publicationSostenibilità e responsabilità dello sviluppo. Approfondimenti geografici
EditorsM Prezioso
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Publication series



  • Disuguaglianze
  • Europa
  • Europe
  • Geografia sociale
  • Inequalities
  • Nord America
  • North America
  • Questione urbana
  • Social Geography
  • Urban Issue


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