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Measuring neighbourhood change through residential mobility and employment

The project will use 2011 and 2016 ABS census internal migration and journey-to-work data to compute indices of neighbourhood change. It will identify and focus on deprived/affluent neighbourhoods based on residential mobility and employment connectivity, and use this neighbourhood-change index to develop a neighbourhood-level measure of housing displacement/exclusion.

The work will provide a basis for testing which neighbourhoods in Australian cities are growing more porous and inclusionary over time, allowing movement of people between housing markets in the long term, and showing evidence for constantly evolving housing-labour market relationships; or whether there is a trend towards exclusion, where in the long term, some neighbourhoods show defined resistance to entry of low/medium income earners, or a defined isolation trend trapping low income earners, and evidence for inefficient housing-labour market relationships with job-residence spatial mismatches. 

The research will respond to three principal research questions: 

  1. What is the extent of spatial sorting of disadvantaged/affluent neighbourhoods, and is there evidence of increasing, decreasing or constant levels of spatial sorting in Australian cities? 
  2. What types of disadvantaged neighbourhoods exist, and how can these be conceptualized by residential mobility flows of people in and out of these neighbourhoods, and the ways in which these neighbourhoods are connected in journey to work relationships with the larger city? 
  3. How can the ability of neighbourhoods to accommodate lower income groups be characterised, and how can the indicator(s) and results provide an evidence base for place-based and connectivity-based specific policy interventions? 

The proposed indicator series will be at the SA2 level. The methods will be reproducible, in that they can be applied for any future census period and any city in Australia, following the ABS urban area definitions (Significant Urban Areas, or Greater Metropolitan Statistical Areas, etc.).

Lead Researcher: Dr Somwrita Sarkar, Sydney University

Project Number: 73236