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EDITORIAL

Abstract
By : Roland G , Sako Musterd

 

RESIDENTIAL MOBILITY AND URBAN CHANGE
Beyond Residential Mobility
Over the past decades, residential mobility has received a good deal of attention in the academic world. However, its mutual relationship with urban change has a more recent history. Even so, an increasing number of academic researchers and policy makers who focus on housing processes and urban transformations realize the importance of linking the two together. This is exactly what this special issue is about. Starting from the perspective of one of the working groups of the European Network for Housing Research - the migration, residential mobility, and housing policy group (http://www.enhr.ibf.uu.se), we plan to relate the knowledge on migration and residential mobility to the knowledge of processes of urban change. A range of papers on this topic was presented during the ENHR conference in Cambridge in the summer of 2004. Migration becomes a political issue when it is connected to the positive and negative effects it may have. Changes in the size, composition and direction of migration will cause changes in the urban fabric, which may or may not be valued positively. For instance, out-migration (suburbanization) may have effects on the dynamics of social cohesion of the neighbourhoods that specific housing consumers have left. A problem that may emerge is that the neighbourhoods of origin can become socially unstable due to a relatively strong outflow of socially stronger households (social and economic capital). One key question is can this dynamic reach a negative threshold? If so, to what extent does that occur and to what extent can the housing policy/policies of - say - housing corporations monitor this development and intervene? In terms of capital, what is the right mix of people to ensure bridging and bonding capital in communities? Urban analysts, however, should also be aware of various other dynamics that occur in an urban environment. An outflow of strong social classes and an influx of weaker social classes do not necessarily mean that the city or certain neighbourhoods lose position. Other dynamics may prevent that from happening. Often, the time between inmigration and out-migration allows individuals to gain social capital, which in turn, enables them to climb to a higher social level. As a result of these various dynamics, the entire system may stay in a dynamic balance situation. However, this does not prevent heated debates on urban decay, increasing urban problems, and other pessimistic accounts about urban change. Similar discussions are in progress regarding international migration. The recent extension of the EU has triggered discussions about the control of migration flows. Some fear that this development will have unintended effects on the labour and housing markets. The examples cited above only reflect a small set of the scientific, social and political valuations of the patterns, explanations of residential mobility and migration, and the potential impact on urban life. Placed within this context, this special issue of Open House International has a double aim: 1) to contribute to the scientific debate; and 2) to contribute to the debates on housing and urban policy. The first aim is supported by contributions from a variety of researchers from different disciplines, including geography, housing economy and sociology. The second aim is supported through reference to policies and policy instruments that may serve practitioners in the housing and urban arena. Most of the articles in this special issue were contributed by European researchers, and deal with the relationship between residential mobility, migration and urban and neighbourhood change.
Micro-level Residential Mobility and Macro-Level Urban Outcomes
By focusing on residential mobility and migration and their collective outcomes in terms of urban change, we link a micro and a macro perspective in that we argue that both are important. This falls in line with Lindenburg's view (1990, p. 736): "In economics and sociology, the main task is to analyze social systems. In other words, the analytical primacy is focused on social systems. In order to explain social systems and related social phenomena, both disciplines have to make use of a theory of action; i.e. the theoretical (or explanatory pri- 6 macy) is focused on the individual. Thus, the two primacies refer to two different levels. There is analytical interest in the individual, but only as an instrument for coming up with explanations on the social systems level." Migration and its intended (policy) and unintended social, economic, cultural and geographical effects can be regarded as the aggregate outcomes of individual decisions to move. The underlying motives for moving are diverse. The literature suggests that at least three very important motives for moving can be discerned. These motives are related to the various careers people try to combine in time and space: the educational and working career, the household career and the housing career. The career that triggers a move is referred to as the motive. The other careers function as a condition. This implies that these careers are not independent, although they differ in importance in the choice process. A move to a specific dwelling and its location can be seen, therefore, as a strategic choice to combine all the career-related activities of all household members in time and space. The motive for moving has a decisive impact in the propensity to move. Motives related to the educational and working career compel housing consumers to accept a dwelling in the short term. Events, such as marriage, cohabitation and divorce all lead to a high urgency to move. Households in transition are, therefore, referred to as urgent movers. Other motives for moving, which relate to primarily to taking the next step up the housing ladder lead to a much smaller probability of moving within a year. The results also suggest that a high urgency goes hand in hand with trading off housing preferences to accept accommodation that is less desirable, but more widely available and accessible. Availability and accessibility are strongly related to the way governments and other stakeholders organize the imperfect housing market. The outcome in time and space of the interdependency of careers is largely defined by structural changes in the various markets in which people operate. Changes in the (spatial) labour market may stimulate people to move. Some studies regarding the Netherlands, for instance, show that people who moved to the Randstad Holland region had more job opportunities accessible in time and space. Although pressure on housing markets is high, a fact reflected by long waiting times for vacancies in the rental sector and very high prices in the owner-occupancy sector, people are willing to substitute their housing preferences. What people consider important is access to their jobs. Consequently, they are prepared to accept lower standard sectors and spatial qualities, or to pay more. Changes in the housing market, reflected by vacancies, allowances and prices, have their impact on the labour market as well. Micro behaviour and macro effects are, therefore, interdependent in time and space. Special Issue This issue thus links residential mobility and migration to urban change. The different contributions here reveal that this relationship is manifest in a number of ways. The order of the papers roughly follows a few dimensions. We start with a macro perspective. The first contribution, which typically represents a macro-perspective, addresses a research question about the development of new polycentric urban networks, and their effects on centres in these new systems. Subsequent papers pay more attention to micro-level analyses. The first series of papers also deal mainly with the actual processes of residential behaviour in a metropolitan context. These processes are analyzed through empirical research. Most of the papers base their insights on actual behaviour. One paper, however, focuses specifically on mobility aspirations and on attitudes towards housing and neighbourhoods. The final set of papers is characterized by its policy focus. These contributions devote a great deal of attention to migration policy. The final paper even focuses in on migration analysis as a policy instrument. The following brief summary of essential elements in the subsequent papers serves here as introduction to this issue: The article by Musterd, Bontje & Ostendorf, "Towards the Polycentric Urban Region: Impacts on Centres and Milieus" focuses on the question of whether the central city is losing ground due to a shift from monocentric to polycentric cities. The answer appears to be no. Dynamics are shown for various sub milieus in the regional context. Regional dynamics have not yet followed the
American example. The central city and the inner suburban ring are still regarded as very attractive places to invest in and move to. Clark, Deurloo & Dieleman's () contribution deals with "Residential Mobility and Neighbourhood Careers." These authors demonstrate that many households gain in both housing quality and neighbourhood quality when they move, and often also gain in neighbourhood quality while holding their housing quality constant. The authors apply a definition of neighbourhood quality based on economic status and on environmental amenities, such as parks and greenery.
Corte, Raymaekers, Thaens and VandeKerkchove focus on "Intra-Urban Migrations and Deprived Neighbourhoods in Flanders and Brussels" This paper is, in some respects, linked to the former article. Migration dynamics differ between deprived neighbourhoods and other neighbourhoods. The authors observe more dynamics in deprived neighbourhoods. Foreigners compensate for the loss of population due to migration. This compensation process is stronger in deprived neighbourhoods than in it is middle class ones. Moves are more often to (deprived) neighbourhoods nearby, compared to the middle class neighbourhood moves. The fact that deprived neighbourhoods are still dynamic and have a clear function in the housing market functioning is highlighted in the conclusion. Robin's article, "Housing careers for social tenants in France: a case study" discusses the housing careers in the Lille metropolitan region (Lille, Roubaix, Tourcoing). This paper states that access to better housing depends on individual characteristics, rather than on residential location. Forced mobility (eviction) depends on the household's history (occupational status, family stability), and spatially concentrated in less favoured areas. Another interesting finding was that urban renewal appears to make social housing more desirable. The article "People and Places: Mobility Aspirations among London Households" by Cho & Whitehead is a result of a model study. Attitudes towards housing and neighbourhoods, as well as attitudes towards moving, and actual moving behaviour, vary with household variables, dwelling variables and neighbourhoods. Household variables (life cycle, employment) are important in the private sector; dwelling (including tenure) characteristics are important in the social rented sector. The neighbourhood, however, does not appear to be very important. In "Gentrification- the prospect of European Cities?" Magnusson wonders whether the effects of tenure conversion can also be defined as gentrification. She measures the difference between the social economic status and age of persons before and after the tenure conversion. She concludes that conversion is indeed a gentrification process. Another, more remarkable, observation comes from her case study of Stockholm, Sweden, where even families with children were found to appreciate the density and cultural diversity in the city.
Sandlie's article, "New Life Courses and Postponed Timing of Home Establishment" addresses the question of why the housing consumption pattern in the late 1990's changed from owner-occupancy towards the rental sector, and from single-person households towards family households. No evidence was encountered of changing housing preferences. Rather, the trend was found to be attributable to the changing structure of the Norwegian housing market. This market is based on a dual-earner households. As a result, young people are forced to cohabit to obtain enough financial capacity to buy a home. Golam Hassan focuses in on "Migration Directions and Policy in Malaysia." That paper falls beyond the scope of the western European context. However, Hassan's conclusions are relevant to the discussion in Europe. Government policy focused on restructuring the population and decreasing poverty has influenced the pattern of regional inequalities. Rural-to-urban migration and rural-to-rural migrations have reduced poverty, but increased urbanization. Poverty remains a problem in the less developed states in West- Malaysia. This is partly related to the migration of stronger households to the cities. Goetgeluk & De Jong's article "Migration Analysis as a Political Instrument, the Case of the Leiden and Bulb Regions in Randstad Holland" shows that proper statistical techniques and visualization of its results trigger political negotiations by falsifying unconfirmed reports that result in a political deadlock. The paper discusses regional politics and portrays a new housing market region. The authors investigate whether the merger of two regions could result in one new housing market region (how do the regions interact?) or whether smaller regions emerge instead (again on the basis of inter-municipal migration). Observations and Conclusions On analyzing the contents of the articles in this special issue, we can discern a further orientation towards the relationship between selective migration, residential choices and housing policies in connection with the dynamics of neighbourhoods and cities. One reason this is happening may be the availability of larger, valid and reliable spatial data, which enable more detailed analysis of relevant relationships between mobility, migration and housing and urban change. One development that appears to be at least equally important is that in many countries, the combination of changes in household composition and changes in the housing system in terms of financing, housing allowances and the growing emphasis on owner-occupancy has had specific spatial and social effects. These effects have drawn much attention from academics and policy makers - often in combination with ideas on urban restructuring and social neighbourhood policies. In closing, we should point out that the contributions in this issue teach us that we must be careful with our conclusions. Residential mobility can be viewed from different angles. Not all effects of residential mobility and migration can be labelled positive or negative from all perspectives. Dynamic processes in cities may sometimes be regarded positive from the migrant's viewpoint, but can also be considered negative from the perspective of the neighbourhood left behind. In a certain respect, the functioning of those neighbourhoods can be regarded as a positive process in that it helps to house people in a certain stage and to raise them upward. However, it can also be seen as a negative process, since middle class ideals cannot be established there. However, if we take the position that not all neighbourhoods can be middle class, not all places can be stable, and that not all migrants can be the same and show similar behaviour, then our views on migration, mobility and urban change may differ. The variety of households in terms of origins and social positions requires a variety of urban spaces, which function differently, but which may help some households create new opportunities, and ultimately enable them to move to another place. It is, in short, a matter of perspective whether this will be regarded as a success or as a problem for the household as well as for the space.

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