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Marked segregation in Bogotá

With the hypothesis that in Bogotá there is a coexistence of residential segregation and low endowment of facilities for education, culture, and recreation, the research project entitled “Segregación e inequidad en el acceso a servicios de educación, cultura y recreación en Bogotá, Colombia” (Segregation and inequality for access to education, culture, and recreational services in Bogotá) published in Cuadernos de Geografía: Revista Colombiana de Geografía (vol. 29 No. 1. 2020) (Geography Notebooks: Colombian Geography Journal) is not only how access is for different groups, but also its impact on households in Bogotá.

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The main discovery of this project is evidence that spatial behavior of the quality of life conditions is a segregated urban model, where social homogeneity at an intermediate section scale is highly identifiable. According to data from the Office of the Planning Secretary of Bogotá and the Universidad Nacional de Colombia (UNal), the Gini Coefficient shows great inequality in income distribution near 0.5.

To show the population distribution of Bogotá according to the socio-economic conditions the researchers used the same census scales for the analysis, i.e. the areas that comply with the conditions to be included in the census that currently are more than 3,000 spatial units. These units were homogenously designed regarding the features of the population, economic condition, and life conditions when they got established. The census sectors have approximately 4,000 inhabitants on average and may be divided by any geographical entity within the municipality.

From there, the researchers measured segregation, estimating the indicators for the traditional 20 political-administrative macro-territories of the city. Later they calculated the basic life quality indicator (BQLI) for the 3,000 units, in a manner as to surpass the official stratification and poverty data.

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To build the BQLI they included the following variables: housing and environment; economic dependence; education achievement of households; food non-consumption in the last week –as an indicator of lack of resources for basic food–, and size of the household, as an indicator of demographic vulnerability. All the indicators were processed through a factor analysis by main components to obtain a synthetic index and validated by different statistical tests.

In spatializing the results for the BQLI in Bogotá, researchers obtained a concentrated spatial pattern (figure 1). The higher indexes (in red) are shown in the axis which goes from downtown to the north of the city through the eastern part of the city. Reciprocally, there are low indices (in blue) toward the south, in east to west stretches.

When estimating the “segregation” indicators of the groups classified with a low BQLI and compared with high BQLI, in a 0 to 1 scale (where 1 is the highest segregation), researchers obtained a geographical dissimilarity of 0.93, i.e. there is high segregation of the groups.

Concerning the “interaction” indicator, that measures the likelihood of interaction (where 1 is high interaction and 0, no interaction), they concluded that in Bogotá the group with a low BQLI has a 0.042 likelihood of interaction with individuals with high BQLI. On the contrary, an individual with high BQLI has a 0.004 likelihood of interaction with an individual with low BQLI. Both indicators highlight high segregation between these two groups.

Education, culture, recreation, and sports

The accessibility to facilities of these sectors was estimated using source-destination matrix constructions amongst the existing offer of facilities (public and private) and location of the population in residential areas. They concluded that there is an elevated accessibility pattern concentrated in the eastern part of the city, while the western part of town shows reduced accessibility.

Although amongst several facilities diverse facilities are identified in terms of accessibility concentration, in general, researchers claim that the spatial facilities identified are similar.

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The results of the “accessibility” indicator in these sectors show a significant difference amongst social groups according to their BQLI classification. When applying the hypothesis testing to establish the differences in the averages among the groups, a p-value under 0.05 proves the alternative hypothesis that there are access differences.

Regarding education, the groups with high BQLI have accessibility 8.5 times to schools; 8.3 times to recreational facilities and 4 times to cultural facilities. Therefore, they concluded that the forecasted BLQI values based on education, culture and recreational facility accessibility show low a BLQI clearly recognizable spatial pattern on the periphery of informal origin (and with low accessibility to facilities). On the contrary, two high BLQI axes have the best accessibility indicators in the city, demonstrating the unfair distribution of the populational groups according to the socio-economical condition concerning goods and services, that warrants construction of social capital and quality of life.

Regarding low levels of quality of life and low accessibility in Bogotá, there are asymmetries in collective goods and services facility endowment that deepen the segregation of the city. According to this project, “it shows a segregation model at a macro population scale that turned out to be a clear dual structure, marked by high-income population concentration to the north and low-income population to the southern sector of the city” 1.

This confirms that the production of urban space in Bogotá is the result of real estate logics which result in unfair spatial conditions that are unlikely to be reversed, as a great part of the city was built without the spaces to support collective life and the necessary social interactions. This underscores the need to plan urban form and structure according to equality city services access criteria, as a manner to guarantee the sustainability of the city as a social and environmental scenario.

Lastly, this research project emphasized the importance of avoiding a negative segregation impact policy in Bogotá and aiming to strengthen locations that allow crossing cognitive horizons and the interaction of members of society in their daily scope of life. Through encouraging building locations, such as collective facilities, the authorities could produce communicative processes that foster knowledge amongst different groups, to interact and suggest answers to the issues faced at different levels as a social group.




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