Social space analysis

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The social space analysis is an instrument that makes use of the methods of empirical social research in order, for example, to achieve comparability of certain parts of the city . Municipalities use the social space analysis to assess the local government 's need for help in a district.

History of social space analysis

The history of social space analysis has its origins in the USA in the 1960s. Scientists such as Eshref Shevky and Wendell Bell developed social area analysis as a tool for analyzing urban culture. Based on the assumption that societies develop towards greater differentiation and complexity , indicators were defined which, applied to the city, could be seen as indicators of urban development. The focus of the social space analysis is the theoretical justification and the generalizability of these indicators. The following table shows examples of the dimensions and indicators that were defined at that time and are still in effect.

Dimensions Indicators
Social space
  • Share of workers in employment
  • Proportion of people with primary school education in the resident population over 25 years
  • Rent amount
  • Fertility rate
  • Share of employed women among women over 14 years of age
  • Share of single-family houses
Ethnic segregation
  • Proportion of foreigners

So we start from several fixed dimensions, which are calculated with certain variables for each sub-district. In Shevky and Bell's model, the three dimensions mentioned form the basis of urban structuring.

Social space analysis today

The field of socio-spatial analyzes is very heterogeneous in practice . There is no generally applicable definition and no specific method package. Today, as in the past, there is consensus that statistical measurement data can be used to achieve a certain degree of comparability between the selected districts of urban sub-areas. As can be seen from the following points, the problems of urban development have become more complex.

The goals of the social space analysis therefore include:

  • the city or district-specific representation of small-scale structures, problems and development projects,
  • the clarification of suitable social space layouts (i.e. the question from which order of magnitude is the reference to the living environment lost and to what extent do official regional divisions meet actual living environments?),
  • the representation of social inequality and undersupply,
  • the identification of special need groups and priority areas to which support should or should primarily be given in times of tight funding,
  • the determination of resources and potentials for neighborly aid, social networks and civic engagement in the neighborhoods.

Due to the described objectives of the social space analysis, it is also of interest for urban social planning, as it can also show whether and in what urgency and with what focus social services are to be provided.

In the next step of the social space analysis, percentages are collected and standardized using a standardization formula. Behind this statement is an enormous spectrum of possible survey and evaluation methods of empirical social research, which can be used according to the respective situation. This also corresponds to the heterogeneity mentioned at the beginning .

More recent approaches (Riege / Schubert 2005, Spatscheck / Wolf-Ostermann 2016) also pursue qualitative approaches to data collection and interpretation in addition to the quantitative approaches mentioned. In this way, subjective and lifeworld-specific meanings of social spaces are recorded and processes of the appropriation and design of space can be seen and reconstructed in their qualities. These procedures are often used to develop concepts and concepts in the context of the socio-spatial opening and further development of social, health and education-related services.

See also


Web links

Individual evidence

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  4. ^ Specialized lexicon for social work . 2002, pp. 909-110