Now that we explored of the concepts of empowerment and need assessment, we are going to focus our attention at the issue of social exclusion, as it is necessary to understand what people at risk of exclusion are facing in order to design and implement projects that aim at supporting them.
A city is such a place that has both social and spatial dimensions. It can be compared to an arena, or to a theatrical stage, where actors play out their roles of everyday life. It is in large urban centers that we encounter all kinds of diversity and dissimilarity of people. It is easy to see all sorts of distances between extreme social groups (e.g., those belonging to the underclass and those belonging to the elite) and all sorts of inequalities (based on an individual’s status, prestige, background, religion, financial resources, etc.). Such a situation in cities eventually leads to the segregation between residents representing different groups. For individuals who hold similar views, have similar socioeconomic status, and value similar values (such as: privacy, anonymity and security, or family, neighborly bonding and cooperation) want to occupy close territories, which on the other hand are isolated from groups that are completely different. That’s why, in contemporary urban spaces, ghettos are being formed, inhabited both by the poor and marginalized, as well as by the rich and the emerging new middle class, who themselves wall themselves off from the rest of the community.
We are all in this together
The issue of socio-spatial segregation in cities is of great interest, through the richness and diversity of the processes and changes that are taking place in modern cities, which makes the topic addressed here have a timely but also timeless dimension. Developed countries concentrate the majority of their population in the cities and urban areas. This is why the topic discussed here is so relevant when it comes to designing projects aiming at creating more inclusive city areas. It is the urban space and the people living in it that interact with each other. Where we are born, raised and internalize all the norms and values accepted in a given culture has a huge impact on our personality and the social groups we function in. But people also influence and shape their environment, making many changes and modifications, which can be observed in the changing image of the city.