[URBANTH-L]Is Diversity Bad for Cities? (Lisa Maya Knauer)

Elgin Klugh elginklugh at yahoo.com
Sun Aug 12 21:41:23 EDT 2007

This discussion is particularly interesting from my
vantage point.  For the past two years I've lived
between Columbia, MD and Montclair, NJ.  Both of these
are very diverse communities with active and involved
residents.  I must mention that these are suburban
middle/upper middle class communities.  But they each
have a fair amount of economic diversity.  
For these two communities, diversity has been a draw
to attract new residents.  Perhaps the high degree of
civic engagement in both communities is a result of
like-minded people gravitating to them, but I've found
that there is a little more going on.  In each
community, the local government sponsors programs
aimed at bridging cultural and racial divides. 
Montclair has an ongoing "conversations on race," and
Columbia has a plethora of programs.  These
communities value diversity but also understand that
it requires active maintenance.  I look forward to
getting into the Putnam book and I wonder what he'd
have to say (or has said) about communities that
appear antithetical to his general arguments.

Elgin Klugh

--- Angela Jancius <jancius at ohio.edu> wrote:

> From: Lisa Maya Knauer <lknauer at umassd.edu>
> thanks, sam. a few more assorted thoughts (i have
> not read the book either):
> 1.    it seems to me that there needs to be some
> further examination of
> contextual issues like segregation and the contexts
> within which
> "diverse" communities come together. that is, it's
> entirely possible
> that in a city with a lot of "diversity" (measured,
> perhaps, by the
> number of languages spoken in the public schools),
> people from those
> various ethnic/racial communities live largely
> separate lives.  an
> increase in diversity does necessary indicate an
> increase in interaction.
> 2.    other contextual factors have to do with
> economic shifts such as
> "restructuring" and gentrification. and antagonisms
> can be highly
> specific, shaped by labor market and neighborhood
> issues as well as
> class (working class members of group A are
> resentful of group B whom
> they see as taking aware scarce jobs because group B
> is phenotypically
> marked as "other"; however, group C is not a target
> of resentment even
> though they are "taking" as many jobs because they
> are not as visible;
> upper class members of group A aren't threatened in
> the same way).
> this should make for some lively discussions.
> regards,
> lisa maya knauer 
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