Mixed urban spaces to reduce prejudice

 

A recently published study has found that prejudice is a function not only of whom you interact with, but also were you live. Previous papers have prioritised the interpersonal nature of contact and thus ignored its potential widespread impact.

 

The data gathered showed consistently across seven studies that individuals’ attitudes to other cultures are more positive when living in contexts in which people have more intergroup contacts. In order to achieve this segregation must be avoided at all cost, but how can this be achieved in practice? How could for example a current or future member of the Council of Europe’s Intercultural Cities network practice what they preach. The article, published by the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, rather in line with the Intercultural cities approach, recommends mixed settings such as schools, neighbourhoods and workplaces in order to prevent it.

 

One must not forget that a city is made up not only of its “hardware” (schools, infrastructure, and built environment) but also “sofrware” - its inhabitants. In order to realize the diversity advantage at local level practitioners must play a careful juggling act between the two to avoid ethnic segregation and discrimination from occurring in increasingly diverse metropolitan areas.

 

By Thomas Pavan-Woolfe

 

Source: "Contextual effect of positive group intergroup contact on outgroup prejudice", Olivier Christ, Katerina Schmid, Simon Loliot, Hermann Swart, Dietlind Stolle, Nicole Tausch, Ananthi Al Ramiah, Ulrich Wagner, Steven Vertovec, and Miles Hewstone Edited by Susan T. Fiske, Princeton University , NJ approved 3 February 2014