Centre for Urban Studies to research the urban middle classes
4 March 2010
Professor Gary Bridge from the Centre for Urban Studies at the School for Policy Studies is to lead a £500,000-funded project that will compare urban neighbourhoods in Paris and London.
Starting in April 2010, the three-year study will look at social and political participation among middle-class city dwellers in different types of neighbourhood in both cities and will assess the impact of their participation on urban politics and policies.
Funded under an Anglo-French bilateral initiative by the ESRC and the Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR), the study will look at a range of neighbourhood types in each city: inner-city gentrified (not socially mixed); gentrifying (socially mixed); suburban; exurban and gated communities.
It will compare and contrast the middle classes across these different locations in terms of their social relations, political attitudes and engagements by looking at key areas such as schooling, the use of public services and neighbourhood activism.
The research will consist of in-depth interviews with middle-class residents and key informants in each neighbourhood, as well as an analysis of relevant documents that discuss middle-class identity and activity in these cities. The study will draw out the implications of the findings for urban politics and policies and compare these with the role the middle classes are assumed to play in these policies at neighbourhood, city, national and transnational levels.