Calls > Session 5

5 – Spatial and temporal shortcuts in the representation of ‘priority areas’

Co-facilitators: Julie VALLÉE (Géographie-cités)

Targeting areas in public action at the local level has emerged as an attractive way of reducing social inequalities related to health, unemployment, education, etc. The effectiveness of area-based interventions, however, requires that territories and their needs be properly represented. Unfortunately, public actors often want to kill two birds with one stone when they target ‘priority areas’: they want to both reach priority groups and change area attributes. The present session aims to discuss how this confusion over targets leads to some spatial and temporal shortcuts when representing ‘priority areas’ for public action.

Spatial discordance may occur when a similar spatial scale (often the smallest possible scale) is used for either targeting priority groups or implementing interventions aimed at reducing social inequalities. Social issues may appear concentrated in certain specific areas, but their underlying causes are often primarily of a structural nature and therefore external to the local communities where their effects are most acute.

Temporal discordance may also occur when representations of ‘priority areas’ are from the result of a residential-based approach focusing on the concentration of ‘priority groups’ residing in these areas, but neglecting incoming or outgoing mobility not only on a daily basis but also over the years.


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Expected types of paper

Every theoretical, methodological or empirical communication discussing spatial and temporal shortcuts in representations of ‘priority areas’ is welcome in this session.

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