Urban Segregation

| November 25, 2014

Urban Segregation

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Many North American cities are segregated in various ways. They are segregated by race or ethnic group, by income, and probably in some other ways as well. Vancouver is among these cities; it’s segregated in various ways. You can see this from maps at the link in the Course Materials folder.

Why does this happen? One hypothesis is this observable segregation is the result of many people wanting to live near others of the same kind. For instance, Koreans want to live in a neighborhood where there many other Koreans. It doesn’t have to be that everyone is Korean, maybe just a majority of neighbors. Or, well off people want to live in neighborhoods where there are lots of other well off people. In both cases this preference means that Koreans will move to be near other Koreans and rich people will move so that they have other rich people living near them. They might do this when they immigrate to Vancouver or another city or even once they have settled in the city.

This theory or hypothesis doesn’t mean that the only reason why people decide to live in one part of a city or another part is that they have these desires to be near similar kinds of people. People move to be near family members or good schools. These preferences or reasons for moving are unlikely to result in the kind of observed segregation that exists in many North American cities.

(a) In your essay you have to investigate some hypotheses about what amount of preference for neighbors similar to yourself would result in the kind of observable segregation seen in a city like Vancouver. Would only a small amount of desire for similar neighbors — for example 35% — result in this observable segregation or does it take a strong desire — for example 67%? You can investigate this using some computer simulations. Links to these are found in the Course Materials folder in the course website.

(b) Your essay should include a statement of part of the real world or topic you are investigating, at least two scientific hypotheses about this part of the world, a statement about any background auxiliary hypotheses, the implications from the hypotheses about observable segregation, a conclusion about the disagreement or agreement between the hypotheses and the observational data, and a final conclusion about the truth or possible truth of some hypothesis.


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