Multiculturalism in urban planning
A spatial approach to the question of living ‘together in difference’
Despite its theoretical contribution to politics of living together, the efforts of multiculturalism philosophy to provide a spatial setting remain mainly at conceptual levels, and hardly encompass a framework of spatial relations in multicultural cities. How does urban planning –as a field dealing with the development of urban space– address the concerns of multiculturalism over sharing urban space among culturally diverse groups? Emphasising the spatial dimension of political multiculturalism, the overall aim of this interdisciplinary research project is to approach the conceptual ideas of multiculturalism through the materiality of urban space.
The research explores the possibility of linking political multiculturalism to urban form through a theoretical and empirical investigation into the role of marginal public spaces of ethnic enclaves in community organizing. Drawing from a number of case studies, the research explores how the spatial morphology of such seemingly unimportant marginal public spaces is of central significance for shaping urban habits of living ‘together in differences’, and strengthening social sustainability of multicultural cities. The result is deemed to be relevant to urban planning academics as well as policy makers who are facing the question of living ‘together-in-difference’, and seeking innovative long-term approaches to bring the conceptual ideas of multiculturalism into the tangibility of urban space.