Space and Pluralism: Can Contemporary Cities Be Places of Tolerance?

Space and Pluralism: Can Contemporary Cities Be Places of Tolerance?

Space and Pluralism: Can Contemporary Cities Be Places of Tolerance?

Space and Pluralism: Can Contemporary Cities Be Places of Tolerance?


This book addresses the social, functional and symbolic dimensions of urban space in today’s world. The twelve essays range from a conceptual framing of the issues to case descriptions, rich with illustrations. Together they provide a thorough exploration of the nature and significance of social space and particular aspects of its distribution in today’s urban spaces and the various factors that are competing for it. The book addresses a topic that is intrinsically interdisciplinary. Questions of space are examined from a rich variety of perspectives from urban planning to political philosophy, shedding some light on this shadowy process. Some of the issues addressed include the dichotomies of public and private space, rights and duties regarding the use of space, and conflicts over its allocation. Well-reasoned and lively discussions are offered from the perspective of basic values and rights. The recognition of the specifics of (minority community) identity as an institutional policy is raised in opposition to “abstract distributive accounts of justice” – economic pressures by developers and would-be gentrifiers.


This collection of papers on social space, the challenges of pluralism and the prospects for tolerance is thoroughly multidisciplinary. Its contributors come from philosophy, political science, geography, urban studies, and urban design and planning. Because the contributors also draw on scholarship outside of their own discipline, working at the intersection of various descriptive and normative issues and various methodologies, this collection is not just multidisciplinary, but also interdisciplinary in the truest sense of the word. We see this criss-crossing of reflection and investigation as a great virtue and hope that readers will benefit from having these problems illuminated from diverse points of view. These papers, individually and in the aggregate, approach pluralism pluralistically. In this introduction we want to set the stage for this multifaceted discussion and indicate the key topics that bring together the chapters that follow.


In the last two decades, concerns with space have escaped the confines of geography departments and become vitally interesting to many other disciplines and areas of study. This is known as the “spatial turn” in the humanities and social sciences (Thrift 2006; Finnegan 2008; Warf and Arias 2009; Withers 2009; Arias 2010; Bodenhamer 2010; Middell and Naumann 2010; Dikeç 2012; Hess-Lüttich 2012; Richardson et al. 2013; Kümin and Usborne 2013). Space as experienced, perceived and con-

As is well known, Edward Soja (1989 and 1996) is one of the leading theorists credited with a new conceptualization of space that has swept across academia (see the interview with Soja in Blake 2002).

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