An Assessment Relationship between Social Exclusion and Transportation

An Assessment Relationship between Social Exclusion and Transportation

Seher Ozkazanc (Yüzüncü Yıl University, Turkey) and Nihan Ozdemir Sonmez (Ankara University, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2116-7.ch005
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Having been used extensively since the 1980s, the concept of social exclusion has given a new impetus to the discussions of poverty and disadvantageousness. The concept of social exclusion, which can be defined as the condition in which certain individuals or social groups cannot integrate into the society either socially or economically or politically, leads to social cohesion problems. This triggers segregation of the society, particularly in large cities, in both social and spatial terms. In the context of accessibility, “urban transport” appears as one of the most important factors determining level of social inclusion/exclusion of the individuals or groups. In this study relation between social exclusion and transport has been evaluated as an attempt to identify socio-spatial segregation pattern of Ankara.
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Although social exclusion (seen as a new concept of social policy defined in France in the 1970’s and subsequently spread all over the world, particularly in Europe), in essence, has existed throughout human history in various societies, it is felt in different dimensions and is greatly disadvantageous to individuals. Social exclusion, which in its simplest form is defined as not being involved in the community, isolation from social dealings, and inability to integrate into society, has become an interdisciplinary discussion matter with development policy, particularly that concerning poverty reduction, and social equity. While social exclusion encompasses issues such as long-term unemployment, poverty, inequalities in income distribution, lack of social protection facilities, it strongly affects individuals’ states and the process of being deprived of rights and opportunities in economic, social, and political spheres. These deprivations may arise from individual features, such as: poor skills, high crime environment, bad habits, and family problems, but lack of urban services can also restrict social inclusion.

Social exclusion that emerges in the form of deprivation from services offered (such as education, health, housing, nutrition and social security) is among the major social problems experienced in Turkey in recent years. Social exclusion, which has different manifestations in different geographic areas, is felt more particularly in the areas of the big cities that have received migrants, who are vulnerable and marginalized. Migration in Turkey from rural areas to the cities accelerated with the process of industrialization, which was actualized by individuals in order to improve their quality of life, reached its peak level in the 1950’s. In this period, governments could not meet the accommodation needs of all newcomers to cities; thus, slums belts began to appear in the peripheries of urban areas. The morphological structure of the cities that continued to grow by receiving migration has been transformed with these marginal housing areas, and cities have entered a process of rapid expansion. Due to the policies addressing this, while housing plots in the central areas of the cities have intensified, socio-cultural and recreation areas have begun to shrink (Church et al., 2000). Loss of compact urban characteristics, expansions of the city limits, and changes in land use have brought various transport problems. Individuals that experience difficulties accessing various services, activities, and opportunities due to lack of transportation are isolated from society. However, in fulfilling the individual needs, the provision of social relations, and the prevention of social exclusion, “transportation” emerges as an effective tool.

In transport policy in developed countries (especially the United Kingdom and Canada), difficulties due to the relationship between social exclusion, social inclusion, and access to transport are considered significant problem areas. In fact, transport policies in essence accommodate access to equal and people-oriented services for all individuals, and main objective of these policies is to minimize the lack of access to vital activities such as health, education, employment by considering the variables based on socio-economic, demographic, physical, and cultural differences.

In the literature on Turkey, social exclusion appears to be discussed as an interdisciplinary concept that focuses on participation issues of poverty and labor force studies particularly. However, studies working to establish the connection between social exclusion and urban transport are scarce to non-existent. Based on this lack, this study seeks to demonstrate the relationship between social exclusion and urban transport.

From the perspective of social exclusion, we determine how accessibility and high mobility appear in different spatial embodiments of the city for understanding the factors and effects of transport and social exclusion approaches; this achieves a multidimensional, relational, and dynamic conception of exclusion. In other words, this study considers the demographic, economic, and socio-cultural constraints, as well as transportation elements, that could lead to exclusion.

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