Planning, Regeneration, Area-Based Urban Policies and the Management of Ethnic ‘Diversity’ in London and Paris

Friday, 20 July 2018: 16:15
Oral Presentation
Claire COLOMB, University College London, Bartlett School of Planning, United Kingdom
Christine LELÉVRIER, Université Paris Est Créteil, Ecole d'Urbanisme de Paris, France
Paris and London are ‘super-diverse’ cities in ethnic, cultural, religious and demographic terms as a result of successive waves of international migrations. They are the capital cities of two nation-states often perceived as opposed with regard to the recognition of ‘difference’ in public action: France is viewed as epitomizing a civic ‘republican’ model, the UK a ‘multicultural’ or ‘pluralist’ model. While there is a solid body of work in political science and sociology comparing national ‘models of integration’ and policies on citizenship, migrant integration and the way ‘difference’ – in particular race and ethnicity - is taken into account in state action, there is less scholarship looking at how the local level of policy-making is addressing those issues. Yet there has been, in recent years, mounting signs pointing to more progressive and inclusive municipal political agendas in national contexts which are veering towards increasingly conservative, nationalist, xenophobic, anti-migrants agendas in Europe and the USA. Both Paris and London are led by vocal mayors who have become prominent political figures, often carving out a political discourse explicitly different from, or even in opposition to, that of their national governments on a number of issues. In this paper we compare whether and how the concept of ‘diversity’ has been mobilized in city-wide planning, regeneration and area-based urban policies over the past 15 years. Two hypotheses will be tested through the comparison: (i) Do city governments articulate a different discourse and policy agenda on diversity ‘against’ or ‘around’ that of the national government? (ii) In spite of these cities being rooted in very different national ‘models of integration’ and philosophies of recognition of difference, is there a convergence between policy discourses and practices between the two city governments? The paper draws on the results from an EU-funded project (DIVERCITIES) completed in 2017 (www.urbandivercities.eu).