The counterpart city represents an attempt to conceptualize the hidden spaces inhabited by social problems and ‘problem’ people who are counter to the mainstream, or included, modes of contemporary urban social life. This ‘opposite’, or negative, space comprises the spatially withdrawn and socially excluded who are largely outside the purview of the comfortable classes of the same cities.Not only has residential segregation been sustained over recent decades, so too have mobile circuits of mutual exclusion been created, which enable higher-income groups to avoid the associated negative externalities of poverty (visibility, disorder, aggression and so on). As responsibility for dealing with social risks has become devolved to the level of the household, the desire for social evasion, as politicians, media systems and welfare patterns mark out threatening territories, has become more evident. The counterpart city is shunned in ever more elaborate ways and with the support of public policies. As the ‘spatial’ social policies, housing and urban, have become increasingly criminalized in the focus of their agendas, such interventions expend energy to facilitate this separation between affluent and poor. Traditional imperatives for public intervention are diminished as poverty has become more concealed from affluence – its costs and impacts evaded by technologies, socio-spatial circuits and policies that skirt those who are locked into places of poverty and abject marginality, a constellation of social forces and effects I term the great cut.