Europe has never been homogeneous and is increasingly becoming more culturally, ethnically, and religiously diverse over the last century. In 2018, 2.4 million people migrated to Europe from outside of the continent, while 1.4 million migrated internally. The diversification of European cities can be an opportunity for increased tolerance and bilateral exchange or might lead to conflict and fear. Understanding how our urban neighborhoods and their public spaces facilitate tolerance, rather than fear should be a critical research field within the built environment disciplines, bringing together knowledge from design, geography, and social sciences, all the while informing policy and local government priorities. Current literature supports that inter-group contact can lead to greater levels of tolerance, and spatial conditions can play a significant role in facilitating or inhibiting these interactions. Well-integrated urban spaces such as streets, squares, courtyards etc. within neighborhoods have the potential to enrich public life and in the long run reduce discrimination and fear.
At present, there is limited research investigating the types of urban spaces and spatial practices that support positive contact between diverse groups, through a multi-level approach looking at different levels of the system. Moreover, there is limited exploration of the impact and agency of intentional urban commoning practices on facilitating encounters, exchanges, and supporting social cohesion and what role communities and local government can play in nurturing social cohesion through local action. My project, ‘Places of togetherness’ (PLAofTOGETHER) will use transition design and participatory research methods to a. investigate the role urban space play in community cohesion and the social integration of immigrants and b. to develop an innovative participatory tool that can be used to advance marginal urban spaces into places of togetherness by communities and local government.
Fields of science
Call for proposal
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