Threshold analysis approach to the objectification of social space: The structure of household types in Sydney

M. Poulsen*, R. Johnston

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Limited research has been undertaken into the geographical structure of familism within urban areas in recent decades despite significant changes in the nature of family living arrangements. A major element in this hiatus has been the lack of a viable methodology other than the factorial ecology and grouping procedures. These permitted the development of multiple place-to-theory studies in social geography, establishing familism as one of the three basic dimensions of social space, but did not facilitate place-to-place or temporal studies. In the current data-rich environment, an alternative methodology needs to be developed for comparative studies, bothtemporal and spatial, where measurements of change and differences can be advanced. Without it social geographers will not be able to undertake many measurement tasks and provide spatial projections of change. In this paper we provide the basis of such a methodology, centred on the objectification of social space by utilising census data, where measurements on single-attribute and multiattribute objects are obtained. As a base study it takes the seven categories of living arrangements designated in the Australian census and derives the familism objects for Sydney. A model of five family-type objects for Sydney is developed. Four distinct types of familism objects account for 93.65% of Sydney's area. The fifth is a collection of forty-one heterogeneous objects. These and other associated measurements can subsequently be compared over time, and between places, thereby facilitating detailed place-to-place and temporal studies in social geography.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)905-922
Number of pages18
JournalEnvironment and Planning B: Planning and Design
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2000


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