Kihato, Caroline Wanjiku, Mejgan Massoumi, Blair A. Ruble, Pep Subrios, and Allison M. Garlans, eds. Urban Diversity: Space, Culture, and Inclusive Pluralism in Cities Worldwide. Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010. xii + 382 pages. Cloth, $65.00.
Urban Diversity: Space, Culture, and Inclusive Pluralism in Cities Worldwide is written by professors, city planners and other professionals, and consists of a compilation of examples in which urban space is a location of diverse interactions between people. This collection of essays examines the different roles that urban space has within the lives of different groups of people in different cities across the globe. Each role that an urban space has is critical in the development of many aspects of urban life and the creation of a diverse urban landscape. In this sense, urban spaces are considered more than just the spatial location in which they maintain. The editors consider urban space and urban culture as pivotal in the quest to establish respect and equality for all groups of people.
A common theme throughout the book is that public space is essential in urban settings in order for citizens to gather, protest, and make decisions. In such places, citizens can increase group cohesion and solidarity among members of society. In an urban context, these public spaces themselves can be influential in group formation. They can provide a place for groups to form, multiple groups to come together, and most importantly, for groups with differing views to confront their differences and strive to bring about understanding and compassion.
Another common theme throughout Urban Diversity is that physical spaces are not the only places in an urban context. Digital spaces create a new place for interaction and net working, and these spaces also foster inclusion. One way is through the decision of who has access to the Internet. The Internet makes spatial locations irrelevant, but access is spatially-determined. The Internet is crucial for groups of people, who may not otherwise have a voice, to be heard. Therefore, the Internet can be a means by which disenfranchised groups can be heard by politicians and other activist groups. Using the Internet, activist groups representing the disenfranchised can create spaces of equality and change, and spaces for people to be heard. However, although public space is dominated by the virtual world, the editors maintain that it is critical that some...