Topic: Positive Multicultural Models
Andre Costin - 200419419
Steven Lam Cham Kee - 305047043
Lon Zhang – 305162993
Positive multicultural nations
This section is mainly about how multiculturalism works at the nation-wide level. Quite a few countries have had to deal with multiculturalism:
Malaysia, for instance, has a policy embedded into it’s framework.
Canada is a very multicultural immigrant nation, and eases the integration of new immigrants by allowing them to follow their social customs, while still adopting the local framework. Through my research, I have found that the USA was at the forefront of multiculturalism, doing a lot of effort to promote it.
In the US, there are 4 main minority groups: African Americans, Hispanics, Asians and American Indians. The rest of the population is largely of European descent. Historically there was a lot of racial tension between ethnic groups. Subsequently a lot of energy was put into reducing racism, and promoting positive multiculturalism.
Entities such as the Planning Research Service were set up to do research on multiculturalism, and find ways to promote it through legislation and incentives. Most of the action is done through the law and planning, for example:
- Cultural Festivals, Art exhibitions
- Ethnic Radio and cable TV for a wide audience
- Business and planning Legislation that promotes multiculturalism.
Festivals and exhibitions are very important tools in creating cross cultural appreciation. It needs provides a clear platform for learning and experiencing the value in difference.
Business laws have been created that require companies to receive government approval that the practice incorporates multicultural ideals before certification is given.
Housing projects similarly are not approved until the developers show that the project meets the relevant multicultural requirements stipulated in planning guidelines.
This is presented in Oakland, California, where there is no district that does not promote multicultural values as interpreted by the governing bodies.
Modernist and post-modernist approach to multiculturalism.
Human nature is such that people of a similar background, ethnicity and viewpoint tend to group together, and this occurs in cities on a large scale. These large homogenous communities could be called enclaves, and planners have approached them in different ways.
Modernist planners considered their own viewpoint superior to the voices of the communities due to their superior education, and their scientific, objective approach. Modernist planners proposed models where people of different ethnicity were spread out evenly.
Post modernist planning is much more considerate of local knowledge and opinions, and places importance on local conditions in addition to larger contexts of planning. As such this planning accommodates enclaves, and in some instances even promotes their development.
Strengths of enclaves (or homogenous communities)
-Local people more comfortable with arrangement
-Culture of the ethnic group is strengthened, whereas it would usually be eroded if community were not surrounded by people from similar backgrounds.
-Economic potential (tourists)
for example, Chinatown is well known for yum cha and massage.
-Opportunity for people to experience other cultures in ‘their’ environment.
Weaknesses of enclaves
-One way traffic of cultural enrichment.
-Little encouragement for residents to learn local language or culture.
-Residents can see unwanted attention to their personal lives by tourists as voyeurism, with negative consequences.
-Inflation of prices in local businesses, as they become more popular.
-Increasing council rates, which forces poorer residents out – a form of gentrification.
From a post modernist point of view, Co housing has strong potential for the future. Co housing is a term giving for a small community where everyone shares a common kitchen and laundry therefore promoting social interaction.
With new government laws in America, Co housing will relate more to positive multiculturalism. Basically, Americans have decided that everything has to be multicultural, so a community that is planned out to be non multicultural will be rejected. So its very important for brochures to include words such as “to live peacefully together.”
East Bay Asian Company, the largest Co housing company, actively seeks out customers that are interested in living in a small community with different races. It is agreed that there is no dominant race among the community. There will be equal amount of African Americans, Asians, Europeans and others.
The selected customers interact with architects and engineers, planners to finalise on a common plan for the community. A typical design is where residential areas are tightly packed, this will increase shared space. There is a usually common kitchen, laundry, gymnasium, child care center, library and other sporting facilities.
Another interesting characteristic is that there is a lays-on person. He or she is in charge of socialising the community. He will organise sporting events, movie nights, cruises, and even movie nights. Since the tenants are chosen because they want to interact with other cultures, there is no problem with someone staying home and isolating themselves. Of course they can’t force the people to do such activities, families still have their own private life to attend to.
Cohousing also attempts to make the community build a sense of working together, trust and support. Most people now don’t even know their own neighbours. But Cohousing makes it seem like you have fifty neighbours. You trust your kids with them, you work together by cooking together, you give people support by helping elderly do their gardens. There are endless possible things you could do that create a positive environment.
- shared common areas
- highly multicultural
- high level of mixing and socializing
- high level of support and solidarity, at least within community.