Belonging and the inter-generational transmission of place identity: reflections on a British inner-city neighbourhood

Diane Frost, Gemma Catney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
359 Downloads (Pure)


This paper explores the subjectivities of neighbourhood identity and belonging. It considers how far, and in what ways, place identity and attachment are transmitted cross-generationally. Three broad themes have framed this research. First, the ways in which the formation and reproduction of neighbourhood identities have been influenced by geographical, political, contemporary and historical contexts. Second, and relatedly, the roles played by intersectional factors such as race and class. Third, the extent to which alternative neighbourhood identities challenge and contest ‘mainstream’ narratives that stigmatise and undermine disadvantaged inner-city communities. This paper draws on a case study area of ‘Liverpool 8’ (part of the wider Toxteth locale), a historically ethnically diverse inner-city area which attracted negative press coverage during the 1980s and 2011 riots. Drawing on a series of in-depth interviews with residents, the research reveals evidence of strong neighbourhood belonging and identity, shared and diffused across generations, based on subjective experiences, both positive (e.g. celebration of diversity, neighbourliness) and negative (e.g. racism, discrimination). To some extent, younger generation narratives reveal subtle changes that suggest a broadening of spatial horizons, beyond the residents’ immediate neighbourhood. However, at the same time, socio-economic and ethnic inequalities act to temper and stifle socio-spatial networks and experiences outside the immediate neighbourhood, for younger – as well as older – generations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2833-2849
JournalUrban Studies
Issue number14
Early online date12 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2020


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