Understanding the social geographies of urban regions

Economic restructuring and changing demographic and migration patterns have significantly altered the composition of the population in urban regions. Although there is evidence of employees in various economic sectors having different residential preferences, there is far less insight into the social geography of various class fractions on an urban regional levels. This paper describes the spatial orientations of various employment groups in the largest urban regions in the Netherlands. It also discusses the extent to which spatial orientations towards various residential urban and suburban milieus can be explained by them belonging to a specific class fraction.

Strong urban orientation

Individual-level register data for the whole urban, regional population have been used, applying both a multidimensional and detailed perspective on social class that also takes economic and cultural capital into account. There is a strong urban orientation among the cultural classes , who are often working in the new economies —irrespective of their income status— whereas suburban areas contain  an over-representation of the more economically orientated class fractions. Despite the differences in economic structure between the researched urban regions, these variegated residential orientations were found to be remarkably consistent.


Willem R. Boterman (UvA), Dorien Manting (PBL), Sako Musterd (UvA)


Publication title
Understanding the social geographies of urban regions
Publication date
21 December 2017
Publication type
Population, Space and Place
Product number