Markus Wurm

Markus Wurm (2012), Three Vienna City Boroughs as an Example of the Contribution of Public Space to Social Integration of Immigrants, Institute of Urbanism; 1st reviewer: Grigor Doytchinov, 2nd reviewer: Anselm Wagner; 278 pages, German.

Because of the increasing proportion of foreigners and their concentration in certain city areas the issue of social integration of immigrants is one of increasing public an scientific interest. The focus often lays on statistic indicators like the proportion of foreigners or unemployed people, regardless of the fact that physical space plays an important role in social integration as well. It is true that a number of sociological papers deal with the impact of public space on social integration, but they do not provide facts applicable to spatial conditions. This paper tries to transfer this social knowledge as far as possible to objective spatial criteria. Starting with relevant literature step by step certain criteria which can be seen as contributions to social integration of migrants into mainstream society are developed. Furthermore the evolved criteria are applied to three boroughs in the city of Vienna to make a comparison of different urban structures in regard to their contribution to social integration possible. The outcomes of the analysis show that the contribution of the spatial forms of the three boroughs to the social integration of migrants are decreasing with a lower proportion of foreigners and a higher socio-economical level of the inhabitants of the ward. That means that only the so-called 'problem zone area' meats the above mentioned spatial criteria best. Thus the outcomes of analysis question the unlimited politics of desegregation pointing out, that useful measures in desegregation can only be undertaken, if a structural change happens in those parts of the city, which are usually not seen as problematic regarding the social integration of foreigners. But probably this can only be achieved by a long term structural change.

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