Exploring segregation and sharing in a divided city: A PGIS approach

Huck, J.J.; Whyatt, D.J.; Dixon, J.; Sturgeon, B.; Hocking, B.; Davies, G.; Jarman, N. and Bryan, D. (2019). Exploring segregation and sharing in a divided city: A PGIS approach. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 109(1) pp. 223–241.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/24694452.2018.1480930


This article presents a novel exploratory investigation into the location and characteristics of spaces that are segregated and shared between Protestant and Catholic communities in Belfast, Northern Ireland (UK). Focusing on a particularly segregated part of the city, this study uses state-of-the-art participatory geographic information systems (PGIS) and visualization techniques to create qualitative, bottom-up maps of segregation and sharing within the city, as experienced by the people who live there. In doing so, it identifies important and previously unreported patterns in segregation and sharing between sectarian communities, challenging normative approaches to PGIS, illustrating how alternative methods might provide deeper insights into complex social geographies such as those of segregation. Finally, the findings of this work are formulated into a set of hypotheses that can contribute to a future research agenda into segregation and sharing, both in Belfast and in other divided cities.

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