Striving to remove barriers that prevent us from building Vibrant, Diverse, Inclusive, Accessible Communities!

 

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Making Multicultural Places

By Courtney Knapp

Harvard sociologist Robert Putnam conducted research on social capital in diverse communities and found that culturally homogeneous communities tend to have more social capital than diverse ones. He suggests creating public destinations in communities to encourage meaningful interaction across ethnic lines, which can lead to more social capital. Project for Public Spaces also promotes parks, plazas, markets, civic buildings, business districts, and neighborhoods to bring people together and create vibrant multicultural communities.

Different theories have emerged to explain the reasons for cultural groups using public spaces differently. The marginality theory proposes that access and equitable distribution of resources affect the use of public spaces, while the ethnicity theory suggests that cultural values and preferences influence usage. The discrimination theory states that certain cultural groups may avoid certain public places due to negative experiences with discrimination. The physical aspects of the built environment should be viewed alongside the creation of a welcoming social or cultural space to make a successful multicultural environment. Creating a space where people's identities are affirmed and where they feel comfortable using the space is more important than physical design or amenities.

Read the full Article - Making Multicultural Places

 

Striving to remove barriers that prevent us from building a Diverse, Vibrant, Inclusive, Accessible Community!

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