A Tale of HiddEN citieS

Panori, Anastasia (2016). 'A Tale of HiddEN citieS' Paper presented at the annual conference of the HDCA, Tokyo 2016.

Hidden cities within a city? That was the trigger point for starting this research. During the last decade, there has been a large increase in the literature concerning urban poverty and inequalities. The rapidly growing population of large urban agglomerations constitutes an important factor that should be taken seriously under consideration when focusing on metropolitan areas, as it might be one of the main causes for observable socio-economic diversion within modern megacities. At the same time, both poverty and inequality have overcome the until recently strictly economic treatment and tend to be investigated under the capabilities perspective. However, few are the cases where there are adequate available data at a low spatial level, in order for researchers to explore that kind of socio-spatial phenomena. Furthermore, in most of them, the procedure of collecting low spatial data embodies time consuming and expensive processes, which are difficult to be conducted, especially in developing countries.
This paper first tries to investigate the relationship between urban space diversification and multidimensional poverty, using an innovative methodological approach to generate low spatial microdata. Moreover, choosing the metropolitan area of Athens as the main case study for the years 2006 and 2011, this paper offers a great opportunity to explore any possible changes that occurred during this period of severe economic crisis and austerity measures. In terms of methodological innovation, a static spatial microsimulation model (SimAthens) is being developed and implemented on aggregate census data and EU-SILC microdata. However, the paper mainly focuses on the analysis of SimAthens results, which include output data at a municipality level.
Using the simulated output data, the calculation of Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) at a municipality level becomes feasible. Moreover, a cluster analysis based on multidimensional poverty is also possible at the next stage, where three main sub-groups are created within Athens. The results of this process suggest that the emerging groups are also geographically clustered within the city to a large extend. Treating each cluster as a discrete unit, a common MPI is calculated and then decomposed for each one of them. The decomposition taking place refers not only to separate dimensions of the MPI, but also to the dynamic evolution of this measure. Furthermore, the results indicate large differences between group-MPI values, revealing the existence of three discrete cities, hidden within the metropolitan area of Athens. These hidden cities illustrate not only highly diversified socio-economic characteristics, but also different behaviour regarding their reactions to economic crisis and austerity measures.
Finally, the ultimate goal of this study is the best possible depiction of existing clusters within a city, along with a detailed outline of their socio-economic characteristics and behaviours. Of course, this always happens with respect to the development of more well-defined and better-targeted area-based policies, whose effectiveness of implementation can also be drawn by developing and solving what-if scenarios for specific case, using dynamic spatial microsimulation models which can offer that possibility. 
Keywords: MPI, cluster analysis, urban poverty, spatial microsimulation

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