The Spatial Capital of Urban and Suburban Families: The Effects of Place on Children's Activities and Parental Satisfaction

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 7:45 PM
Room: Booth 67
Oral Presentation
Joseph GALASKIEWICZ , Sociology, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
Kendra THOMPSON-DYCK , Sociology, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
Scott SAVAGE , Sociology, University of California-Riverside, Riverside, CA
Joy INOUYE , College of DuPage, Glen Ellyn, IL
Families’ life chances are affected by where they live as well as by their financial, social, and cultural capital.  That’s because their residence affects the likelihood of accessing organizational resources (Wilson, 1987). The latter include employment, education, health care, and food as well as entertainment, religion, and culture.  Logan (2012) characterized this “unequal access or exposure by different population groups” spatial inequality.

The concept of spatial capital reconceptualizes spatial inequality in network terms and sheds light on how an area’s transportation network can reduce/enhance spatial inequality. This concept focuses attention on the different abilities of households to access diverse elements in the context of the urban design (Marcus, 2010). Families’ access to organizational resources is measured using network analytic techniques, i.e., how many supermarkets, doctors’ offices, parks, schools, sports clubs, etc. can families reach through the transportation grid in a reasonable amount of time.  This will depend on how transportation networks are designed, where establishments are located in the network, the family’s location, and the family’s transportation and communication technologies, e.g., cars, bikes, smart phones, GPS devices, etc. 

We use data from surveys of families in 2003 and 2013 in the Phoenix-Mesa urbanized area and spatial data that we collected on a variety of establishments that provide services and activities for children for these same years.  We hypothesize that the likelihood of families using and evaluating positively establishments that their children patronize will be function of how many establishments are accessible to them through the transportation network.  The more choices a family has, the more likely they will take advantage of them and the happier they will be.  We test spatial econometric hierarchical models where we model the likelihood of families’ use of different establishments and their satisfaction using areal data to define the set of establishments accessible to them.