Social inequalities and urban fragmentation strategies


Rowland Atkinson and Emma Morales Garcia de Alba (Ibero-American University Puebla)


In the past decade,  Mexican cities have faced an increase in urban violence linked to the impact of organsied crime, corruption and income inequality. During the same period, the UK has faced a heightened terror threat, widening social inequalities and an increasing privatisation of public space. As a consequence, in both countries there has been an increasing fragmentation of of urban life and a decline in social cohesion. In relation to urban elites, this sense of fragmentation is evident in residential developments designed to exclude and secure; in practices of avoidance and separation when moving around the city; and in the growth in providers of elite/lifestyle services.

Focussing on urban elites in Mexico and the UK, this project seeks to analyse the risks and challenges for the public life of cities from new and growing patterns of segregation and social avoidance. An overarching concern will be to identify practices and strategies that promote diverse social engagement in public spaces while maintaining public safety.

The project will consist of study visits/workshops to be held in Mexico and the UK, which will seek to engage with relevant stakeholders (planning and urban design professionals).


British Academy/Newton Fund