May 30, 2015
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1. I thought spatial inequality and residential segregation are basically the same thing. If not, what's the difference, terminologically speaking?

2. Question from NS P/S practice book pertaining to spatial inequality:
What is not an example of spatial inequality?
A. Inhabitants of a sparsely populated country on coast of Europe enjoy higher standard of living than inhabitants of an overpopulated country in sub-Saharan Africa
D. A politician denounces undocumented immigrants living in his town's outskirts as being unequal to those living in the town who have legal immigration status.

D is correct answer and hence NOT an example of spatial inequality. I don't understand why this is so because it sounds clearly like residential segregation (which, even if not identical, is similar to spatial inequality). I also don't get why A IS an example of spatial inequality - I see spatial inequality as clusters of disparate smaller communities within a larger community; the European and African countries are different communities entirely. In fact, the European and African communities themselves are very homogenous and probably not residentially segregated.
 
Jan 26, 2015
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MD/PhD Student
Residential segregation definition from wikipedia: "Residential segregation is the physical separation of two or more groups into different neighborhoods, or a form of segregation that "sorts population groups into various neighborhood contexts and shapes the living environment at the neighborhood level.""

Spatial inequality definition from wikipedia: "Spatial inequality is the unequal amounts of qualities or resources and services depending on the area or location, such as medical or welfare."

While residential segregation refers to neighborhoods within one city, spatial inequality is a broader term that can apply to the differences between any two areas.

D is not an example of spatial inequality because the inequality the people are facing is not because they live in the town's outskirts, but because they are undocumented immigrants. The discrimination is not due to location, but rather legal status.

A is spatial inequality because the two groups of people face different qualities of life based on where they live. Whether this inequality is within a community or between communities doesn't matter.
 
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May 30, 2015
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Ah ok. So to summarize:
RS = neighborhood-level separation; strictly just means separation of different groups - doesn't necessarily have to be a bad thing
SI = applies to any level from neighborhood to globe; strictly deals with unequal distribution - necessarily a bad thing (at least from conflict perspective)

However, for the question: I understand A is spatial inequality; but why is D not spatial inequality? I can argue that legal status is a resource just like standard of living, and choice D itself describes an obvious inequality. Or would you say that D is an example of residential segregation but not spatial inequality?
Say there's an expensive skyscraper where majority inhabitants are Race X, but nearby is a slum with majority inhabitants of Race Y. Would this be BOTH residential segregation and spatial inequality?
Thanks for the input
 
Jan 26, 2015
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MD/PhD Student
You might be able to argue that legal status is a sort of resource, but their legal status does not depend on them living in the outskirts vs. the town. It is inequality, just not spatial inequality. The answer also does not say that undocumented immigrants are absent from the town, so you can't assume spatial inequality or residential segregation (even if it seems likely). In your hypothetical example, it would definitely be residential segregation, but would only be spatial inequality if there was a difference in access to resources (which is probable, given your use of the word slum).