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Multiscale Measures of Population: Within- and between-City Variation in Exposure to the Sociospatial Context

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalAnnals of the American Association of Geographers
Early online date29 Jan 2018
DateAccepted/In press - 1 Oct 2017
DateE-pub ahead of print (current) - 29 Jan 2018


Appreciating spatial scale is crucial for our understanding of the sociospatial context. Multiscale measures of population have been developed in the segregation and neighborhood effects literatures, which have acknowledged the role of a variety of spatial contexts for individual outcomes and intergroup contacts. Although existing studies dealing with sociospatial inequalities increasingly explore the effects of spatial scale, there has been little systematic evidence on how exposure to sociospatial contexts changes across urban space, both within and between cities. This article presents a multiscale approach to measuring potential exposure to others. Using individual-level register data for the full population of The Netherlands and an exceptionally detailed multiscalar framework of bespoke neighborhoods at 101 spatial scales, we measured the share of non-Western ethnic minorities for three Dutch cities with different urban forms. We created individual and cumulative distance profiles of ethnic exposure, mapped ethnic exposure surfaces, and applied entropy as a measure of scalar variation to compare potential exposure to others in different locations both within and between cities. The multiscale approach can be implemented for examining a variety of social processes, notably segregation and neighborhood effects.

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