Are Long Commutes the Solution to Maintaining Family Ties and Spatial Integration? Demographic Evidence from a European Comparison between Barcelona and Marseille.

Paolo Chevalier, Centre d'Estudis Demogràfics
Juan A. Módenes, Dept. of Geography, UNIV. AUTÒN. DE BARCELONA

Low-income earners have a greater potential to be impacted negatively by professional and residential instabilities. Family and spatial integration appear to be one of the last bastions for their social inclusion. Along with the various structural changes, urban sprawl and improvement of speed potentials caused an increase in commuting time. As a result, 5% of the low-income workers in Marseille and Barcelona allocate more than two hours a day to their daily travel routine. These changes may have facilitated the practice of “spatial reversibility”, that is to say, to maintain spatial integration within family ties or social networks and, at the same time, commuting out of their life space every day. This paper analyzes the causality between family ties and the increased duration of the day-to-day commute. To address this, a one-week gathering of geolocated data via a mobile application will map the life space of 50 low-income workers. Then, an interview will facilitate the retrieval of retrospective data. An adaptation of the “Ageven” form was made for the purpose of studying family, residential, professional and mobility trajectories as well as the life space along different life cycles. Through a life course approach, it is possible to observe how daily mobility may change over time, the circumstances in which a long commuting occurs, its motives, and its impact on their daily life space. For this paper, a special interest has been given to family ties and their localization in order to witness the evolution of the interrelationship between commuting distance and family network location.

Presented in Poster Session 3