zone of transition
zone of transitionan area of the city, according to the perspective of URBAN ECOLOGY, which borders the central business district. Although its socioeconomic makeup is constantly changing due to the processes of urban growth and relocation, it is characterized by high levels of migration (as poorer people and newcomers to the city move into the area and as well-off people move away to the ‘better areas’ of the suburbs), by social heterogeneity, multioccupation of dwellings and a high incidence of reported social problems such as crime, mental illness and alcoholism. The coincidence of social problems with the decline in housing stock and the spread of slums resulted in the recent past in programmes of slum clearance and the building of high-rise accommodation. Although the material fabric of the environment is regarded as important, urban ecology argues that the lack of social ties and sense of community found in these areas are the chief cause of social pathology.
More recently the term has been superseded by INNER CITY to denote the growth of settled communities of people of minority heritage backgrounds, people who emigrated to the UK for work during the phase of decolonization, and their descendants who experience discrimination, relative deprivation and low socioeconomic status and can be regarded as an UNDERCLASS in capitalist society. See also HUMAN ECOLOGY, URBAN SOCIOLOGY, URBANIZATION.