Social Mix in Deprived Areas: A Solution to What?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 11:45 AM
Room: 311+312
Distributed Paper
Manuela OLAGNERO , Cultures, Politics and Society, University of Turin, TURIN, Italy
Irene PONZO , FIERI(Forum of International and European Research on Immigration), TURIN, Italy
Social Mix  in deprived areas: a solution to what? 

The research study refers to the results of a housing mix policy in Turin (Italy) based on the conversion of the real estate complexes built at the time of the 2006 Winter Olympic Games into public and subsidized housing and aimed at creating a housing mix capable of generating a social mix.

Social mix policies put together two main approaches to urban/housing policies: the people based  (addressed to empowering  and supporting people in their crucial life-housing transitions); area based (addressed to improving physical and social infrastructures of the neighborhood).The policymakers’ expectations about mixed districts can be listed in four points: 1) providing opportunities for housing career in district since it gives residents the possibility to move to better, more expensive and even owner-occupied dwelling; 2) improving social contacts and social cohesion, since mixed districts are supposed to  foster contacts between different groups of people and through that enhancing social cohesion; 3) increasing social capital since mixed neighborhoods should developed bridging, reciprocity, norms and trust; 4) providing positive role models especially to lower strata, reducing crime, low education achievements, poor health and unemployment.Starting from those expected results, the premises and outcomes of this specific attempt have been investigated. In the observed neighbourhood social mix has not produced all the hoped-for effects. The greatest benefits have been in limiting the negative effects. The effects as regards developing resources have been more disappointing, both at the neighborhood level and in terms of interaction. It is possible that these latter effects need more time to make themselves felt. Or, perhaps, social mix is at most effective to curb vicious circles, but not to be “automatically” a source of virtuous circle.