Town Planning Review

Effects of new construction and renovation on ethnic and social mixing in apartment buildings in Estonia

Town Planning Review (2022), 93, (4), 373–400.


Residential segregation between social groups has grown in European cities, while the housing sector has boomed in major cities since 2009. These two forces raise questions about the role of new housing construction in the growth of segregation. This article explores the sorting of both socio-economic and ethnic groups into three housing types: older, newer and renovated apartment buildings. We employ data from Tallinn, the capital city of Estonia, where new housing construction has been extensive during the past ten years. We link census data with building-level data for publicly subsidised and privately funded housing renovations, and we calculate segregation indices by housing type and construct a multinomial regression model. Results suggest that publicly subsidised housing renovation contributes to continued mixing of socio-economic (occupational) groups, while new housing construction and especially private renovation increase segregation between ethnic and occupational groups. Ethnic and occupational segregation interact most strongly in privately funded apartment building renovations primarily within central city historic neighbourhoods.

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Author details

Hess, Daniel Baldwin

Väiko, Annika

Tammaru, Tiit