Power, Legitimacy and Performance
Edited by B. Guy Peters, Patrick von Maravić and Eckhard Schröter
Chapter 8: Civic leadership and local politics in multi-cultural cities
For centuries, if not throughout human history, cities have grown and changed as a result of migration and immigration. A consequence is that all cities are, to some extent, multi-cultural or multi-ethnic. However, in recent years, as a result of the rapid movement of peoples across national frontiers, many cities have become even more multi-cultural than in the past. Given the pace of population change now taking place in some urban areas, Jill Gross and I suggested that it may be helpful, at times, to use the term “dynamic diversity” – a phrase we used to describe a startling transformation in the diversity of the population of a locality in a relatively short space of time (Hambleton and Gross, 2007: 218). Thus, in recent years some immigrant “gateway cities” have experienced remarkable population shifts. For example, in Toronto, Canada, almost 50 percent of city residents are foreign born – according to the 2006 census the residents of Toronto come from 208 countries or regions and speak 140 languages or dialects. In major cosmopolitan cities, like London and New York, it is now the case that literally hundreds of different languages are spoken. For example, a study of the languages of London’s schoolchildren found that over 300 languages are now spoken in the capital (Baker and Eversley, 2000). This increase in urban diversity poses important challenges for city leaders and public managers and for the systems of representation in urban governance.
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