Accepted paper:

Comparison of open/heterogeneous - closed/homogeneous local systems in dealing with diversity: London


Rossella Lo Conte (University College, London)

Paper short abstract:

Open and closed inner-London local systems are compared in order to investigate different modes of dealing with diversity. Here, relationships between people and place shape people's livelihoods and comparisons of statistics and informal interviews give a comprehensive insight in how this occurs

Paper long abstract:

Bow and Battersea are two inner-London areass which were identified by previous research as two different ideal types of local systems in dealing with diversity: Bow as being closed/homogeneous and Battersea as being open/heterogeneous. Diversity-Indicators were also defined. The two areas manage resources and organise access to such resources differently, defining a local according to ethnic group or to the degree the person 'fits with us', in contrast to 'them'. London, as all large cities, offers many groups to belong to and many others from which being excluded, identification in THIS and differentiation from THAT is a very complex but interesting process when considered in a urban setting where there are just more boundaries. The focus of this research has been to investigate whether the distinction of 'open : closed' still holds today and whether the current situation could have been predicted from any of the initial indicators. Official 2001 Census Statistics accompany findings from informal household interviews conducted to people of different age, gender and ethnic background, living in the areas. Longstanding and new residents' perceptions about changes are also explored looking at their livelihood options in the neighbourhood. Battersea is not as open as it used to be and Bow is not as closed. Some features have changed and more options have become available. We believe that diversity is beneficial for both hosting people and newcomers. Results are hoped to have an impact on people working on local planning and policy areas.

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