Spatial inequalities: deprivation, household income and infrastructure

Start date: 
Wed, 21/04/2021
Closing date: 
Wed, 21/04/2021
Event contact: 
Melissa McGregor (

Time: 14:00-15:00


The recording of this seminar is now available.


  • Jenni Cauvain (Nottingham Trent University)
  • Brendan Nevin (North Housing Consulting)
  • Alan Harding (Greater Manchester Combined Authority)


Title: Show me the money – income inequality and segregation in UK cities

Authors: Jenni Cauvain*, Gavin Long, Tim Whiteley and Etienne Farcot

Abstract: A number of factors have led to (concentrations of) poverty becoming prioritised, over income inequality, in empirical studies of household income in urban areas. The factors range from normative motivations to intervene in disadvantaged neighbourhoods, to hegemonic right to privacy and autonomy being afforded to wealthy households and neighbourhoods. This paper addresses a gap in understanding the relationship between household income inequality and income-based segregation at the urban and neighbourhood scales in the UK. The results highlight that the cities and districts with a greater share of the high income population are less segregated (Index of Dissimilarity), but have higher income inequality (Gini). Lower average income cities tend to be more segregated because high income households segregate into ‘pockets of affluence’. These results also confirm that high income households are the most segregated group in our sample, following a global trend. The research highlights just how prevalent low income is in urban neighbourhoods, making the case for high income as the designated minority population in segregation studies. In our detailed case study of Nottingham conurbation, greater income homogeneity is typical of low income areas. Neighbourhoods with a high Gini coefficient are “mixed income”; here the Gini is raised by the presence of high income households. These results are based on an experimental household income dataset released by the Office of National Statistics, with analysis of all core cities in England and Wales, alongside Derby, Leicester, Cambridge, Southampton and Winchester, followed by a detailed case study of Nottingham (UK) and its extended suburban boundary.

Biography: Dr Jenni Cauvain is the lead author of this paper. She is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Nottingham Trent University. Prior to NTU, Jenni worked at the Universities of Nottingham and Manchester, also for the thinktank IPPR North. She is an honorary senior research associate at the Centre for Urban Research on Austerity, DeMontfort University. She tweets at @jenniviitanen and can be emailed at

Title: Implicit Urban Policy, Spatial inequalities and Infrastructure Investment

Speakers: Brendan Nevin and Alan Harding

In this presentation we will revisit the argument, first made in a paper that formed part of the Government Office for Science Future of Cities programme, that the influence wielded by the public sector over spatial economic outcomes derives from three broad sources, viz:

  • Explicit national spatial policies and programmes,
  • (Implicit) national policies and programmes whose spatial implications are not formally considered within policy design processes, and,
  • The independent policy and programme choices that sub-national units of government are empowered to make for themselves.

The first part of the presentation will briefly review changes that have taken place within these three policy spheres since 2014, when the paper was published. The second part will focus in more detail on evidence of change in implicit spatial development policy. The final part will assess the likely implications of recent changes for future spatial development patterns and the reforms that would be needed to produce outcomes that achieve ‘levelling up’ more effectively.


Brendan Nevin is Director of North Housing Consulting and a Visiting Fellow at CRESR. He has held a number of research and public policy positions in professional practice and academia over the last three decades focusing mainly on housing and the dynamics of urban change. In professional practice has held posts at Assistant Chief Officer and Chief Officer in English Local Government and spent two years as the Interim Managing Director of a sub-regional urban renewal partnership (New Heartlands). He has previously been the Director of Social Housing Reform in the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment in New Zealand and contributed to the earth quake recovery programme in Christchurch. In 2002 he was seconded into the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister in the UK to develop the framework for the English Housing Market Renewal Programme having led the national research programme at the University of Birmingham which established proof of concept. During his time in academia and consultancy Brendan has specialised in developing sub regional and city based housing and regeneration strategies based on partnership working, analysis of need, and solid links to planning and economic development frameworks. He is a passionate advocate for linking research and analysis to public policy development. Current interests include partnership working and pandemic recovery, and the development of local housing systems analysis to improve decision making and the targeting of investment.

Alan Harding is Chief Economic Adviser to the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and a visiting Professor at the Manchester Institute of Innovation Research in the Alliance Manchester Business School. He oversees the analytical work that supports GMCA’s research and intelligence, strategy development and evaluation efforts. Most recently, he oversaw the production of the Greater Manchester Independent Prosperity Review, a major collaborative initiative with leading academic experts designed to refresh the evidence base for future economic strategies. Previously, Alan spent 30 years in academia leading specialist urban-regional research Institutes and Centres in the north of England.

Sheffield Hallam University is not responsible for the content of external websites.

Follow us

Bookmark or share this page