Segregation as a Multi-Scalar Phenomenon and Its Implications for Neighborhood-Scale Research: The Case of South Seattle 1990-2010

Christopher S. Fowler, Pennsylvania State University

A growing literature recognizes that segregation varies considerably with scale. Recent work on "segregation profiles" by Reardon and collaborators is one of several methodological developments that provides a means of conducting research on neighborhoods that is sensitive to this variation. When applied to very fine geographic units the segregation profile encourages us to think about segregation as a multi-scalar phenomenon. Specifically, segregation in this conceptualization is not a value calculable at some 'correct' scale, but a continuous function with respect to scale. When conceived in this way we can understand 'neighborhood effects' as the outcomes of processes taking place at scales both smaller than and larger than the neighborhood itself. Using block level data for eight neighborhoods in Seattle I employ the segregation profile to define typologies of multi-scale segregation and explore how these typologies define neighborhoods in space and how these definitions changed from 1990 to 2010.

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Presented in Session 51: Methods of Spatial Analysis