||The spatial clustering or \'ghettoization\' of human service clients and the facilities designed to serve them in the inner city (also referred to as the service-dependent population ghetto). Forces producing the zone of dependence are numerous and complex and can be linked to broader debates about the processes of social exclusion which isolate certain groups from mainstream social and economic opportunities on the basis of dimensions of oppression like \'race\', class, gender, sexuality and disability. In the recent past, one of the most prominent has been the trend toward deinstitutionalization, whereby many groups with mental and physical disabilities were discharged from institutional environments into an inadequate system of community-based care.
The deinstitutionalization of people from psychiatric facilities is typical of the experience of many such groups. Their ghettoization following discharge can be seen as the result of a number of factors. For instance, the inner city is the place where there are: large properties available for conversion to community facilities; an established supply of cheap rental accommodation; and established support networks, both personal and those associated with formal support services. Former psychiatric-hospital patients gravitated towards core areas in search of housing opportunities, such movements often occurring over large distances and including rural-urban migration. They were also referred by professionals to core-area housing and service opportunities.
The original plans for deinstitutionalization envisaged a spatially dispersed system of care that would successfully mainstream previously stigmatized client groups. At least two factors worked to prevent the realization of this goal. First, deinstitutionalization was often used as an opportunity to cut budgets for funding services to the extent that it was impossible to provide the comprehensive systems of assistance needed to ensure successful community-based care. Second, there has been continued and widespread community opposition to the placement of facilities in residential and commercial districts beyond the zones of dependence, particularly in suburban locations (see NIMBY). Public intolerance is sparked by fear and uncertainty, and perpetuated by a lack of knowledge about and familiarity with disabled people, intensified by a conservative turn in national politics during recent decades and reflecting what Galbraith terms a \'culture of contentment\' among the privileged. Neighbourhood concern is often manifest as a range of material concerns relating to (for instance) anticipation of diminished property values, or reduced neighbourhood amenity. The force of the opposition is often so intense that planners and facility operators have attempted to avert conflict by seeking out non-controversial sites for community-based facilities. These have typically been found in low-income, inner-city neighbourhoods. Such areas have often become saturated with human service facilities, giving rise to a call for a \'fair-share\' policy of facility location within metropolitan areas.
Those discharged from psychiatric institutions have been joined in zones of dependence by a variety of other populations, including the dependent elderly, the developmentally disabled, the physically disabled, runaway youth, parolees, and people with drug and alcohol addictions. Many in these groups also experienced deinstitutionalization, but a growing proportion now come from a \'never-institutionalized\' category. Economic, political and socio-cultural changes in the past three decades have produced an unprecedented concentration of these populations in the inner city. Often, the growing numbers of people in need has overwhelmed existing social service networks, contributing to the ongoing crisis of homelessness.
Intolerance and community opposition continue to play a major role in containing service-dependent populations in zones of dependence. However, there are significant variations in public attitudes toward the different groups. A number of dimensions determine levels of public acceptance, including the perceptions of personal culpability, unpredictability and dangerous behaviour, and the extent to which disabilities interfere with accepted social conventions. Efforts to facilitate the siting of facilities in neighbourhoods beyond existing zones of dependence illustrate how variations in acceptance arise (see zoning). For example, neighbours may be willing to tolerate the presence of board-and-care homes for the elderly, but they are likely to oppose efforts to establish transitional housing for the homeless, or residential drug and alcohol treatment programmes. Such reactions are a consequence of a complex mix of factors, including the characteristics of the neighbours themselves, plus their perceptions of the potential facility, and the kind of clients it is designed to serve.
As an urban phenomenon, the zone of dependence represents an enduring feature of inner-city morphology. As a social welfare phenomenon, the zone continues to act as a reservoir of potential clients and as a reception area for individuals in search of assistance; for them, the inner city has become a coping mechanism, especially since they lack the power to radically change their situation. As more and more needy people arrive, so increasing numbers of services are established to care for them. The new services themselves act as a catalyst to attract yet more clients, and so a self-reinforcing cycle of ghettoization and dependency is established.Â (MJD)
Suggested Reading Dear, M., Gaber, S., Takahashi, L. and Wilton, R. 1997: Seeing people differently: the social and spatial construction of disability. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 15: 455-80.Â Dear, M. and Wolch, J. 1987: Landscapes of despair: from deinstitutionalization to homelessness. Princeton, NJ: Prince ton University Press.Â Dear, M., Wolch, J. and Wilton, R. 1994: The Service Hub Concept in Human Services Planning. London: Pergamon Press.Â Wolch, J. and Dear, M. 1993: Malign Neglect: Homelessness in an American City. San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass.