The Challenge of Diversity: Does Urban Diversity Contribute to the Ideal City? / STREAM H-Well-being in cities

Organizer: Thomas Maloutas (Harokopio University, Athens, GR); Stijn Oosterlynck (University of Antwerp, BE); Nicos Souliotis (EKKE, Athens, GR); Ronald van Kempen (Utrecht University, NL).


Cities are becoming more diverse. This increasing diversity, associated with migration, different lifestyles within and between groups, and spatial segregation in terms of ethnicity and socio-economic variables, leads to diverse and usually unequal opportunities for different groups of urban residents. Within cities, quite a number of neighbourhoods also show a large diversity, often accompanied by large differences in lifestyles and socio­economic inequality. Within such neighbourhoods residents may live spatially mixed or more separated. Diversity within cities and neighbourhoods can create problems, such as feelings of discomfort, clashing values and norms, conflicts in or over public space, racism and even open conflicts on the streets. Diverse cities and neighbourhoods can however also create opportunities for their residents: the presence of different people in a relatively small area creates possibilities for new social contacts, social cohesion, innovative practices of solidarity in diversity, and social mobility. Whether diversity has positive or negative effects depends partly on policies and local initiatives that stimulate social contacts and collaboration between the different groups present in the area. The guiding question for this stream is: To what extent does urban diversity contribute to the ideal city in terms of social and socio-economic outcomes?

The stream aims to bring together scholars from different parts of the world who are working on the social and socioeconomic effects of urban diversity. Papers may focus on all kinds of aspects of diversity (e.g., socio-economic, socio-demographic, ethnic and/or cultural diversities, but also diversity in lifestyles, attitudes and activities).

We are looking for contributions in the following subthemes:

  • The effects of urban diversity on social contacts: Do residents of diverse neighbourhoods have their contacts within these neighbourhoods or not? Why are social contacts of some groups of people more local than others?
  • Urban diversity and social cohesion: Why are some diverse urban neighbourhoods more cohesive than others?
  • The relation between urban diversity and social inequality: How does urban and neighbourhood diversity affect social mobility? Which groups seem to profit from diversity, which ones not?
  • Urban diversity and social solidarity: Do residents of mixed neighbourhoods find help among their neighbours? What are the sources of solidarity in diverse neighbourhoods (values, interests, interdependencies, etc.)? Which new forms of solidarity can be found in mixed areas?
  • Urban diversity and quality of life: Does diversity contribute to the well-being of urban residents? To what extent is diversity in neighbourhoods a contributor to happiness?
  • Opinions about diversity: How do residents of diverse neighbourhoods perceive urban diversity?
  • Urban diversity and policies: Which urban policies have been successful in making diversity into an asset? Does planning for diversity work? What is the role of professionals in promoting living in diversity? Which local initiatives have created a good seedbed for social cohesion and social mobility and solidarity?

H3.1 The Challenge of Diversity

Chairs: Ronald van Kempen (Universiteit Utrecht), Thomas Maloutas (Harokopio University), Stijn Oosterlynck (Universiteit Antwerpen), Nicos Souliotis (Greek National Center for Social Research)


Anne Clementsen
Experiencing and reacting upon diversity in urban spaces

Dimitris Balampanidis and Panagiotis Bourlessas
Ambiguities of vertical multiethnic symbiosis in the city of Athens

Bart van Bouchaute, Anika Depraetere and Joke Vandenabeele
Nurturing solidarity in diversity: complementary currencies as a transformative practice?

Elise Schillebeeckx
Dealing with diversity in the city: exploring the arrival and transition infrastructure in the migrant neighbourhood Antwerpen-Noord

Claire Colomb and Mike Raco
Planning for / in the super-diverse city: between celebratory policy narratives and the reality of planning policies in London



H3.2 The Challenge of Diversity

Chairs: Chairs: Ronald van Kempen (Universiteit Utrecht), Thomas Maloutas (Harokopio University), Stijn Oosterlynck (Universiteit Antwerpen), Nicos Souliotis (Greek National Center for Social Research)


Katrin Grossmann, Rikke Skovgaard Nielsen, Eduardo Barberis and Anne Winther Beckman
Governance Arrangements Targeting Diversity in Europe – Structural Conditions of Work and Institutional Backgrounds

Azat Zana Gundogan
Urban Diversity: an Obstacle to Political Mobilization against Urban Renewal? A comparative research on two neighborhoods in the Istanbul city-region

Javier Ruiz-Tagle
Bringing Inequality Closer: a comparative outlook at socially diverse neighborhoods in Chicago and Santiago de Chile

Anna Steigemann
‘Do I need to grow blond hair to become German?’ Place Making Practices of Business Owners on a “diverse” Berlin Shopping Street


H3.3 The Challenge of Diversity

Chairs: Chairs: Ronald van Kempen (Universiteit Utrecht), Thomas Maloutas (Harokopio University), Stijn Oosterlynck (Universiteit Antwerpen), Nicos Souliotis (Greek National Center for Social Research)


Anouk Tersteeg and Ympkje Albeda
Neighbourhood-attachment in hyper-diverse areas. Lessons from Rotterdam and Antwerp

Ewa Korcelli-Olejniczak and Filip Piotrowski
Social diversity versus social solidarity in Warsaw: two districts – two different worlds?

Maxime Felder
Diversity on the doorstep: conditions of coexistence between neighbours in socially and ethnically mixed buildings

Adriano Cancellieri
Urban Conflicts and Immigration. Resources and Risks for Social Innovation

Distributed papers

Georgia Alexandri
Diversity in the context of crisis in Athens’ city centre: everyday practices of solidarity and cohesion versus the quotidian realities of micro-segregation and fear

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