Views of Ethnic Diversity in Glasgow’s Regeneration Areas

Thursday 17 August 2017

The city of Glasgow has become a more ethnically diverse place over the past fifteen years, with nearly one-in-six residents reporting an ethnic minority identity in the 2011 census.  This change in the population has occurred at the same time as major parts of the city have been affected by area regeneration programmes enacted by Glasgow Housing Association (part of the Wheatley Group) and the City Council.  In a new study, we have used GoWell household survey data to look at how these two phenomena interact with one another.

In the third GoWell survey carried out in 2011, respondents were asked how ethnically mixed they thought the neighbourhood where they lived was.  We sought to find out whether these perceptions of diversity were associated with any of the social and other outcomes that regeneration programmes attempt to improve. In doing this, we compared the situation in major areas of regeneration with their surrounding areas, and with other deprived areas further away.

We found that perceptions of diversity (i.e. where people considered their neighbourhood to be ethnically mixed) were positively associated with many outcomes – including satisfaction, cohesion, safety and empowerment – particularly in regeneration areas but also to a lesser extent in other deprived areas. These positive findings may reflect a growing sense of familiarity and integration where relatively recent migrants have lived for a decade or more (something we reported in earlier results) and the fact that migrants can help fill gaps in social life where communities have been weakened by deprivation and residential change. 

In contrast, we found perceptions of diversity to have more mixed effects, or no effects, on outcomes in the areas surrounding regeneration areas.  This may be due to the more recent arrival of significant numbers of ethnic minority residents in these areas, with residents relocated into new housing as part of the regeneration process. 

The results are available in a recently published open access academic article entitled 'Perceived neighbourhood ethnic diversity and social outcomes: context-dependent effects within a postindustrial city undergoing regeneration', published in the Journal of Urban Affairs