Geographies of Social Difference Essay
Geographies of Social Difference
Map 1: [Figure 2, People not fluent in English as a percentage of the total population aged 5 years and over, Sydney, 2006] (a) Compare the spatial pattern of the map to the map of unemployment. Does the map share the same spatial pattern as unemployment (i.e. do the areas of high and low concentration match)? Describe the similarities and differences in the spatial pattern. Figure (1) displays that there is a high prevalence of unemployed people in the Western and South western regions of Sydney. Sydney’s South West areas and inner west areas have high numbers of people not fluent in English e.g. Cabramatta-Marrickville .Both Figure (1) and (2) correlate well with each other as the areas which are high numbers of unemployment are also areas which have a high number on individuals of are not fluent in English.
b) Explain why your map shares (or does not share) a similar spatial pattern to the map of unemployment. Area’s which have high numbers of unemployed individuals are also area’s which have a high number in individuals who are not fluent in English. Individuals not being fluent in English may be limited to employment opportunities as they may lack fundamental communication skills which are needed in the workforce. They may also have limited opportunities to attain qualifications that may improve chances of employment due to their lack of English skills e.g. entering a Question 2, Map 2.
Map 2: [Figure (3) Low income Households with a gross weekly income less than $500, as a percentage of all households. Sydney, 2006.] Compare the spatial pattern of the map to the map of unemployment. Does the map share the same spatial pattern as unemployment (i.e. do the areas of high and low concentration match)? Describe the similarities and differences in the spatial pattern. Figure (1) and Figure (3) have similar spatial patterns of unemployment and low income households. Both unemployment and low income are common in the central western parts of Sydney (Blacktown) and also South Western parts of Sydney such as Campbelltown and also leading into the inner western and eastern suburbs such as Villawood and Claymore (ABS, 2006). These maps show similarities as unemployment often results in individuals living off low income.
b) Explain why your map shares (or does not share) a similar spatial pattern to the map of unemployment. Figure (1) and Figure (3) have similar spatial patterns as unemployment and low income correlate with each other. Both unemployment and low income are prevalent specifically in the Western suburbs of Sydney. Individuals who earn low incomes are left with little to no amounts of discretionary income, hence why they reside in areas within Western Sydney as estate is more affordable to buy or rent in comparison to other regions such as Northern Sydney Question 3:
The map of unemployment shows that some areas of Sydney experience higher levels of unemployment compared to the rest of Sydney. Identify and explain the changes that have taken place in the economy (e.g. in Sydney, NSW, Australia) that have generated such unevenness in socio-economic opportunities. Discrepancies between the ‘rich and ‘poor’ have been known to humanity for countless years. These discrepancies are evident in all societies where there are a variety of individuals who belong to different classes on the social class ladder. These discrepancies are evident in figure (1) and (3) where unemployment and low income are most common in Western parts of Sydney. Individuals often chose to reside in Sydney’s Western suburbs where living and life style costs are considerably cheaper in comparison to Eastern/Northern areas of Sydney. Economic changes within regions results in social polarization. Socio-spatial polarisation) refers to divergence over time in the life chances and socio-economic circumstances of low income and middle to high income populations CITATION Wai00 \l 3081 (Waitt, et al., 2000).
Income is a critical factor underlying polarisation. In Australia, the top 25 per cent of families now receive about 5 times as much disposable income as the lowest 25 per cent CITATION Wai00 \l 3081 (Waitt, et al., 2000). These statistics are evident in figure (1) where unemployment are most common in the Western parts of Sydney due to the living costs being lower in comparison to North and East suburbs of Sydney. As social-polarisation is associated with socioeconomic factors such as income and education, it can be said that individuals who are not fluent in English are less likely to find employment due to their lack of essential work skills. Another reason that causes discrepancies between low socioeconomic status communities and high socioeconomic status communities is the constant improvement and development of areas which are seen to be more desirable to live in. An example of this is the constant advertisements which portray messages saying – “new inner-city residence that will bring about a ‘new way of living’ or state that ‘living in the inner city has so many benefits: you can walk to work, miss traffic jams, stroll to all the best restaurants and be part of the lively city ambience’ CITATION Bau05 \l 3081 (Baum, et al., 2005).
This results in individuals wishing to move into areas close to the CBD. As populations increase in these areas, infrastructure will also increase. This will create jobs which will favour individuals living close by. This cycle results in low socio-economic areas receiving less development opportunities as individuals prefer to reside in other areas e.g. Individuals preferring to reside in Northern Sydney over Western Sydney. Individuals who reside in Western Sydney Suburbs that are able to find employment in high socioeconomic areas such as Northern Sydney which are constantly redeveloped and improved are faced with the burdens of travelling for long periods .
Waitt, G, McGuirk, P, Dunn, K, Hartig, K & Burnley, I 2000, ‘Transforming cities: socio-spatial polarisation’, in Introducing human geography: globalisation, difference and inequality, Longman, Sydney, pp. 405-406. Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2006. A Social Atlas, 2006 Census of Population & Housing, Sydney: Australian Bureau of Statistics. Baum, S., O’Connor, K. & Stimson, R., 2005. Suburbs of advantage and disadvantage. In: Fault lines exposed: advantage and disadvantage across Australia’s settlement system. Melbourne: Monash University ePress, pp. 12-30.