Urban Planning in a Multicultural Society

By Michael A. Burayidi | Go to book overview

must understand that they are making judgments that should reflect the values of their community. Whether those values are based upon the ideas of a single culture or on the community's cultural diversity will, ultimately, be the responsibility of each individual member of the commission.

The next century poses a unique challenge to America's democracy: "Can we live in a truly multicultural society?" The nation's history is replete with admirable episodes during which society expanded to create political opportunity, fought to assure equal rights, and promoted religious and cultural tolerance. The conflicts that will arise as a result of the changing cultural dynamics in our society will certainly test America's ability to continue to call itself a democracy. Nowhere will change be as necessary as in its political institutions and, because of its close fundamental community decision-making role, nowhere will the conflict be more personal than in the local planning commission. It is in the local community that Americans must begin now to prepare themselves and their collective society for a multicultural future.


NOTES

The authors would particularly like to acknowledge the assistance of Colleen K. O'Toole, Ph.D. for her editing and valuable critique of this chapter.

1.
Demographic data obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau report, "Population Projections of the United States by Age, Sex, Race, and Hispanic Origin: 1995 to 2050," published in 1996.
2.
Community Policing Exchange, September/ October 1997. Published by Community Policing Consortium, 1726 M. Street, N.W., Suite 801, Washington, D.C., 20036. The Community Policing Consortium recently dedicated an entire issue of its publication to issues of cultural diversity. The publication is sent to police departments and community policing organizations throughout the United States.
3.
Much of the following was originally discussed in David J. Allor article "Toward a Longer and Higher Duty for Local Planning Commissions", published in the Journal ofthe American Planning Association, Vol. 60, No. 4, Autumn 1994:437-43.
4.
Mayer Robert R. "Social Planning and Social Change". Prentice-Hall, Inc. Englewood Cliffs, N.J., 1972, p. 41. Mayer presents an analytical approach to answering questions related to social problems and structural interventions. In particular, chapter 3 presents a case study of interracial housing that, even though somewhat dated, has broad implications for finding solutions to living successfully in a multicultural democracy.

REFERENCES

Allor David J. "Toward a Longer View and Higher Duty for Local Planning Commissions". Journal of the American Planning Association, vol. 60, no. 4, Autumn 1994:437-43.

Allor David J. "Concensus and Dissensus in Decision-Making By Urban Planning Commissions: Some Reflections on a Sociology of Rationality". Paper presented at the North Central Sociological Association, Indianapolis, Indiana, April 1984.

-204-

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