Müürisepp K, Järv O, Sjöblom F, Toger M, Östh J
Appl Geogr 154 (-) 102926 [2023-05-00; online 2023-03-10]
In this study, we set out to understand how the changes in daily mobility of people during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in spring 2020 influenced daytime spatial segregation. Rather than focusing on spatial separation, we approached this task from the perspective of daytime socio-spatial diversity - the degree to which people from socially different neighbourhoods share urban space during the day. By applying mobile phone data from Greater Stockholm, Sweden, the study examines weekly changes in 1) daytime social diversity across different types of neighbourhoods, and 2) population groups' exposure to diversity in their main daytime activity locations. Our findings show a decline in daytime diversity in neighbourhoods when the pandemic broke out in mid-March 2020. The decrease in diversity was marked in urban centres, and significantly different in neighbourhoods with different socio-economic and ethnic compositions. Moreover, the decrease in people's exposure to diversity in their daytime activity locations was even more profound and long-lasting. In particular, isolation from diversity increased more among residents of high-income majority neighbourhoods than of low-income minority neighbourhoods. We conclude that while some COVID-19-induced changes might have been temporary, the increased flexibility in where people work and live might ultimately reinforce both residential and daytime segregation.