Are Long Commutes the Solution to Maintaining Family Ties and Spatial Integration? Demographic Evidence from a European Comparison between Barcelona and Marseille.
Juan A. Módenes, Dept. of Geography, UNIV. AUTÒN. DE BARCELONA
Paolo Chevalier, Centre d''Estudis Demogràfics
Several authors identify that family ties influencehome location in two ways: the nearby presence of family members may makepeople reluctant to move away, and family members living elsewhere may inducepeople to move in their direction (Mulder, Cooke, 2009, p. 300 ; Spilimbergo, Ubeda, 2004 ; Dawkins, 2006 ; Zorlu,2009). Nonetheless, many structural changes in Europe are beginning to stand inthe way of the European households who try to maintain their family ties,especially in the case of the low-income workers in Barcelona (Spain) andMarseille (France).
On one hand, the metropolizationof the European economy has progressively dispatched economic activities amongthe metropolitan area. Among various others, logistic centers in the metropolisesof Barcelona and Marseille, the sector which currently recruits the mostunqualified and unexperienced workers, are located in areas of isolation ( Cebollada, Miralles-Guasch,2008 ; Donzel, 2014 ). On the other hand,an increase of outsourcing tasks, a need for flexibility and a new form oflabor organization has been observed (Boltansky, Chiapello, 1999). Consequently, Castel observes a newsocial class, the precariat, which refers to agroup of people who suffer from a lack of job security (Castel, 1995)
Disturbances in the housing marketshould also be pointed out. For instance, a study from the urbanism agency ofMarseille metropolis (AGAM), shows that a low-income single-parent family canonly afford to live in Berre-lEtang, a municipalityof the metropolis of Marseille (Alfree, Vidal, 2016).In return, some evidence shows that depending on ones socioeconomic categoriesor place of residence, job offers are not always equally allocated throughoutthe area (Kain, 1968 ; Wenglenski, 2003).
Therefore, individuals tend tocontinue to maintain strong family ties. Spanish families have strong economicsupport and childcare is provided by the family to compensate a weaker publicwelfare (Esping-Andersen, 1990 ;Poggio, 2008 ; León, Migliavacca,2013). Observing the residential moves within the suburbs of Madrid, Lealpointed out a territorial consequence of this familisticwelfare. Progeny was looking forward to remaining in the same suburbs as hisparents when choosing a home (Leal, 2010). Nonetheless, increasing cuts inFrench welfare system may induce similar practices to the most fragilehouseholds. Up to now, for the low-income individuals, it is the availabilityof the access to social housing that determines the localization of the placeof residence (Dietrich-Ragon, 2013).
Nevertheless, some low-income workersdedicate two hours a day to commuting to maintain their family ties (Ravalet et al., 2015). In France and in Spain, accessibility to speed potentials, such as motorvehicles or fast public transport, allow people to increase the perimeter oftheir life space (Wiel, 2002 ;Dupuy, 2000 ; Orfeuil,2004 ; Eurostat, 2017). These changes may have facilitated the practice ofspatial reversibility, that is to say, to maintain spatial integration withinfamily ties or social networks and, at the same time, commuting out of theirlife space every day (Vincent-Geslin, Ravalet, 2015).
Our research question is the following: is the desire tomaintain family ties and spatial integration the reason behind long commutes?
Our hypothesis is that due to the existence andbenefit of this familistic welfare, individuals wholive in Barcelona tend to maintain their family ties and spatial integration.In Marseilles case, it is social housing policies that determine thelocalization of these individuals.
Through a life course approach, it ispossible to observe how daily mobility may change over time, the circumstancesin which a long commuting occurs, its motives, and its impact on their dailylife space. This can be witnessed when individuals become long commuters inorder to live closer to their family. Thisstudy is based on a sample of 50 individualswho live under the poverty threshold andtraveling to and from work more than two hours a day.
To begin, the web interface of Modalyzershows the modes of transport used, location and temporality of daily trips(Figure 1 left). Also, the totality of the waypoints are mapped to visualizethe spatial and temporal representation of the current living space ofindividuals (Figure 1 right). From here, with these results, thesemi-structured interviews may be adapted according to the observed life space.
Figure 1. Life space of a Spanish worker.
The interview has been divided into two parts. The first twenty minutesare dedicated to grasping the individuals subjective feelings about theirdaily commuting experiences and will provide reasons for its occurrence.Secondly, a one hour and ten minute interview will retrieve retrospective data.Following past surveys undertaken by INED in France, an adaptation of the Ageven form was made for the purpose of studying family,residential, professional and mobility trajectories as well as the life spacealong different life cycles (Courgeau, Lelièvre, 1990, 1996 ; Bonvalet, Lelièvre, 2012). Aspecial interest has been given to family ties and their localization.
Presented in Session 1234: Posters