Forbidden city: urban patterns of the upper class population in the twenty-first century Spanish metropolitan regions

Miguel Rubiales, Universitat de Barcelona
Isabel Pujadas, Universitat de Barcelona
Jordi Bayona-i-Carrasco, Centre d’Estudis Demogràfics (CED), UAB

Researches on segregation prefer immigrants and low-income groups as subjects of study. However, the upper class population has the highest levels of segregation and plays a leading role in major urban dynamics such as spatial segregation, territorial polarization, suburbanization and gentrification. In this context, the detailed study of urban and metropolitan patterns of the upper classes is essential. This communication identifies the main socio-residential patterns of the Spanish upper classes. To do this, a factorial ecology analysis using 2001 census data is applied to the two largest Spanish metropolitan areas: Barcelona and Madrid. The applied technique is the factorial ecology, a term that summarizes in a single concept multivariate factorial combination of principal component analysis and clustering calculation for easy mapping. The analysis's results presented provide a typology of eight socio-residential clusters three of them associated with the upper classes: First, congregation: a large pattern of high-class congregation in city centers. This pattern is the more elitist and socially homogeneous. It corresponds to the beau quartiers of Paris and segregates upper classes from the masses by a "transitional border" [a buffer of middle classes] and the large numbers of upper class. Second, seclusion: various sprawl axes departing from the congregation area which spread through the neighboring municipalities in the metropolitan region. These municipalities are linked to the central city, are well equipped and well connected by public transport (usually by train). Thus, upper class population in the seclusion areas can retain high centrality values while gaining environmental and residential quality. Segregation from other groups is important but, to get it, the decisive factor is the low residential density and physical distance. Finally, polarization: socially mixed neighborhoods in in historic city centers where upper class population cohabits with significant proportions of foreign and population and unskilled workers.

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 Presented in Session 32. Urban population dynamics