The paper examines the role of the spatial dimension in urban poor areas and it is based on the French case. Part of the literature links the production and the re-production of exclusion areas to the affirmation of globalization and metropolization processes. These theories stress an overlapping between social and spatial exclusion that manifest itself in "ghettos" and they give to spatial variable only a passive role: at the most the concentration of vulnerable populations has the effect of exacerbating their exclusion. This paper explains that these approaches assume an overly simplistic view of the spatial variable, which leads to interpret the territories, where poor people are concentrated, as places of confinement, in which individuals are forced to live, adding to the shortcomings of their capitals, the negative effects of stigmatization and segregation in areas lacking in opportunities. Recalling the discussion on neighbourhood effects and researches conducted in french cities, the article argues that the effects of the concentration of vulnerability should not be interpreted in an exclusively negative way.By reference to research on mobility (daily and residential), the article will show how people living in poor areas are also affected by the emergence of mobility phenomena of contemporary society and that in these neighbourhoods there are resources, social networks, opportunities for social inclusion, in which individuals unfold a series of tactics, albeit in a context that can also provide strong constraints on the capabilities of individuals. Finally, the paper will highlight some paradoxical effects of the demolition and reconstruction policies that are part of politique de la ville’s urban renewal programs. These policies can be effective in redefining urban spaces, but they risk destroying the very important resources provided by the residential space to the most vulnerable people.
Keywords: Globalization, Exclusion, Segregation, Neighbourhood Effects, Urban Renewal, France.