Sustainable Cities

Sustainable Cities

Diversity, Economic Growth and Social Cohesion

The Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei series on Economics, the Environment and Sustainable Development

Edited by Maddy Janssens, Dino Pinelli, Dafne C. Reyman and Sandra Wallmann

This book focuses on cities, their relationships with each other and the disparities between them. Analysing cities as the places where diversity is especially apparent, where cultural richness is experienced and where conflicts often erupt, it illustrates how cultures and cultural diversity interact with economic growth and development.

Chapter 7: Chicago: A Story of Diversity

Richard C. Longworth

Subjects: economics and finance, urban economics, geography, cities, urban and regional studies, cities, urban economics, urban studies


Richard C. Longworth Like Baroda and Banska-Bystrica, this chapter offers a historical sweep showing changes in the nature and outcome of population mix. It is focused on the experience of diversity in Chicago. While we recognize that European cities and societies may have policies, histories, cultures and civic styles very different from American or Asian norms, aspects of diversity in these extraEuropean cases resonate with our findings for European cities. There are lessons to be learned by comparison. In the Chicago case, emphasis is on industrial development and change in the origin and education of migrants arriving to fuel the economic system. Against these changes, a delicate equilibrium between separateness and interrelatedness of ethnic groups characterizes political and economic life. The equilibrium ensures compatibility of actions and is sustained by negotiation and compromise. In the economic arena, big companies may discriminate against new immigrants, but economic opportunities abound in other sectors. In the political arena, the city is dominated by established communities, but new immigrants can access a measure of power – once through networks into the Democratic Party, now more likely by providing money. 7.1 INTRODUCTION The story of Chicago, like that of most American industrial cities, is the story of diversity. Chicago was a labour pool before it was a city, a camp of immigrant workers before it was a recognizable American town, a coherent economy or a civilization. Unlike European cities, it was never tribal but a salad of tribes, thrown together in great industries but fiercely separate...

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