Schnell, Philipp; Kohlbacher, Josef; Reeger, Ursula
Population, Space and Place, Volume 21, Issue 5, 446-462
Publication year: 2015

With ongoing immigration from ‘all over the world’, European cities are realising that the local level is gaining importance as a setting for interethnic coexistence. In this article, we investigate the attachment of migrants and natives to their local context in three neighbourhoods (one better‐off, two more deprived) in Vienna that differ in contextual, structural, and socio‐economic characteristics. We ask how the place attachment of natives and migrants is related to weak and strong social ties. In all three neighbourhoods, we found a majority of residents reported high or medium levels of attachment proving that urban neighbourhoods are still important contexts for local residents. A closer look revealed differences across groups and research areas: The strongest place attachment is displayed by natives in the middle‐class area of Laudongasse, with migrants being significantly less attached, but still more than migrants (and natives) in the two deprived settings. In social housing (Am Schöpfwerk), migrants are more attached than natives, whereas in Ludo‐Hartmann‐Platz, the difference is not significant. The first result is that obviously deprivation reduces individual place attachment. In contrast to previous studies we found that socio‐demographic factors are not relevant, it is social contacts that are important in explaining local attachment. For natives and migrants alike, close ties in the neighbourhood raise local attachment. Small talks are relevant for migrants but not for natives. This is in line with previous studies emphasising the special relevance of weak ties for migrants in supporting the integration process in a new environment.