[Last Updated: September 24, 2006]
URBS 250: Planning the Multi-ethnic City
M: 4:20PM - 6:50PM, in SH 286
Instructor: Ashwani Vasishth
Office: ST 206
Office Hours: M 3:00-4:00 PM
Telephone: x-6137 [office]; (323) 462-2884 [home]
Course website: http://www.csun.edu/~vasishth/URBS-250.html
NB: This course fulfills the requirements of an upper-division General Education course.
COURSE READER: Available at Northridge Copy Center, 9130B Reseda Blvd., for approximately $40.
Background Reading: The 1992 Los Angeles Unrest (see particularly the Notes section with links to other resources pertaining to the “riots’)
COURSE OBJECTIVES AND ORGANIZATION:
To be human, today, is to have both a strong sense of belonging and a powerful sense of individuality. We tell our belonging to a community, to a culture, to a place, to a time, to a way of living, perhaps as a declarative way of telling our self. And yet we are as strongly driven to account for our difference, perhaps because the act of naming community is itself an act of exclusion as well. And perhaps because modern culture has trained us to cherish individuality and personhood, even as we draw foundational value from the collective act of being. In any case, in order for there to be a coherent “us,” we have no choice but to designate a corresponding set of “them”—if only implicitly. These two forces—of aggregation and segregation—are the warp and the weft that pattern the intricate tapestries of our urbanizing humanity. We sort our selves out into integrative communities of apparently like minded-individuals, and we segregate our selves from other communities, as expressions of neighborhoods. New York becomes a very particular frame of mind, and Los Angeles a certain sort of lifestyle.
Urbanization itself is the single most powerful force shaping human civilization. The ever-finer division of labor, and the increasing degrees of specialization that growing cities make possible, when coupled with the freeing up of labor from the daily grind of maintaining the terms of our existence, due to increases in efficiency and productivity, give our minds the breathing room to wander. And wonder. And innovate. To be creative, and to actualize upon our cerebral and spiritual potential, we must be freed in some of our time from the business of merely living. So, clearly, increasing heterogeneity is a good thing, allowing as it does the ever finer parsing out of the myriad activities that go into the everyday business of thriving, in some symbiotic compact that allows each of us to reach beyond the mere limits of our self. The more different sorts of individuals we can bring together in one place, the more finely we can divide the work of existence, and the more complex the web of interdependence we can weave. Ecologically, we say “biodiversity enhances stability,” and we take this to be true for humans as well as for plants. At least, that’s how the theory goes.
But then, race happens, and typological thinking returns to our forebrain as a deeply ingrained reflex reaction. We look at the outside of things, and of people, and try to tell their insides. We assume that people who look most like us will likely be the most like us. And we begin to sort out the shapes of our lives accordingly. And we make categories and labels, and insist in fitting individuals into their apparent type. And none of it works! It can’t, because the typology itself is fundamentally flawed. Race, as a meme, turns out to be devoid of much biological meaning. We can now know with considerable certainty that race tells us very little of the things we really want to know about one another, and yet we persist in telling our selves in this race-based way. We know cognitively, for instance, that there can be a greater genetic diversity within some one racial group than there is between two racial groups.
But still, forces of habit and conventions of language keep us wedded to the notion of race. It makes intuitive sense to divide humanity into distinct racial groups, because that’s the way the world appears to be woven. Empiricism, which set us free, binds us as well to the anchor of physiological reality and so keeps us from the functional flows that mark our actual existence. The apparent differences are too different, and the apparent similarities too similar, for us to be able to disregard, or see beyond. And perhaps because the status quo is evolutionarily advantaged in any contest of ideas, and certainly because the time frame of modernity, though surely greater than the sweep of our individual life spans, is infinitesimal in the scheme of human civilization. Consider that Charles Darwin’s articulation of a functional theory for evolutionary change was first expressed a mere one hundred and fifty years ago. Three lifetimes, or so! How can a cultural complex that measures its days in centuries and its months in millennia reasonably be expected to integrate such an enormous transformation in thinking about the world into its own way of being, even as it carries on the business of being, on an everyday basis?
But that is our task. To unlearn the categories that have been shaped and embedded deep into our being, over millennia of human existence, to trace the tendrils of these truthless typologies which reach into the deepest crevices of our civilizing order, to rip them out and let grow into their place some savvier, and functionally more robust way of telling clusters and categories, differences and similarities. We will learn that race indeed does matter, not because it tells us what things mean, in their nature, but rather because we have made it matter so very much in how we arrange and order ourselves, throughout the grand sweep of human history. We will come to see how unfulfilled is the idea that we are a modern people, now verging upon a post-modern world. Instead we will realize that humans remain very much a proto-modern people, barely sapient, still teetering, undecidedly, on the verge of modernity, and far closer to our pre-scientific ancestors than to our yet unformed future. We are still unable to tell, with surety, whether what we see is being read out of nature or merely projected onto it by our own mind’s eye. For, to be modern is to see the world the way it actually happens, not merely the way it seems to happen. And that is something we are still a long way from realizing.
Race, we will find, draws little of its reality from actuality, but takes most of its meaning instead from social and cultural historicity. Ethnicity, though clearly meaningful in so very many ways, if only because we continue to want it to be, still can not do the categorization and clustering work we would ask of it. And yet, as human populations co-mingle and then co-mingle again, we must quickly understand what it might mean to live in a “multi-ethnic” city, in a genuinely multi-perspective way. What happens to the ways in which we plan and build, once the race-based labels are finally accepted as hollow? Can we imagine a way to plan and live that does not rest so heavily on these cartoons of race and ethnicity? Can we help ourselves get along in the probably painful but certainly inexorable transition from a society based so essentially on color and on an imaginary geography of origins, to a more fully integral and functionally perspectival ecological human race?
I would argue that the diverse calls to social, environmental and economic justice which push for a planning that is aware of multi-ethnic or multi-cultural imperatives, are not significantly more than a call to a planning that is self-aware and deliberative of as many as practicable of the functionally relevant points-of-view as can be thought to have bearing on the case in hand. In this version, an ecological planning is one who considers the things that matter more than most, and that incorporates the processes and functions which shape any particular planning domain. Then, a call to an effectively multi-perspective and stakeholder-driven adaptive management approach to planning will be seen to incorporate the range of categorizing and framing devises which we habitually use in planning--such as the ideas of race, culture and ethnicity, class and gender, as well as geopolitical, regional and national groupings.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING:
There will be three take-home exams (I0% each), in each of which you will have one week to prepare a three to four page response to a question based on readings and discussions in class There will be a final project (30% of the grade), either in a grop project format or in an individual format, as described below. Informed participation and attendance (that is to say, doing your readings, coming to class, AND engaging in discussion) are worth 40% of the total grade.
All assignments (other than in-class work) are required to be typed, double-spaced, and in a standard font. Do not use colored inks. You are required to leave a 1.25 inch left AND right margin. You are required to leave two spaces after every period. You are required to use informative sub-headings to structure your papers. Bibliographies in APA format, with appropriate in-text citations, are required, for the final assignment. Each submission will carry your name, e-mail address, course number and the date at the top right-hand corner of the first page. Your submission will be stapled only once, at the top left-hand corner. Do not use any sort of binder strips or covers or decorative embellishment. Proof-read your work for typographical errors and spelling mistakes. This is not optional. Which means it is compulsory. Points will be deducted if all of these requirements are not met.
In general, you are strongly urged to make use of the course web-site, library and scholarly internet resources, in-class discussion, as well as office-hour meetings to further your interests. I have a vast storehouse of articles and reports, and really do enjoy helping you get better at doing research, so please feel free to come chat with me, explore ideas, discuss options and obstacles.
Plagiarism will not be tolerated under any circumstances. I will unhesitatingly fail you and put the case on record with the University in all cases. If you take three or more consecutive words from any other source (article, book, web site), you MUST put them in quotation marks, and provide a clear citation. You are required to familiarize yourselves with the University regulations at:
In addition, you are required to bring a print-out of the University’s Plagiarism Policy, with your name and date written on it, to indicate that you are familiar with the rules of the game. See:
We will use the term “multi-perspective” to refer to the general class of framing devices that rely on pseudo-biologic and constructed socio-economic classifications of human populations, such as race, class, gender, nationality, ethnicity, culture and so on. The idea is to find ways to implement a participatory approach to planning and decision making, one in which the planning team is diverse enough in its composition so that all strategically and functionally relevant stakeholder perspectives depicting the classificatory systems have been represented.
Broadly speaking, there are two approaches to planning and decision making: expertise-based or top-down planning, and participatory or bottom up planning. (In actual fact, the only useful approach to planning is a middle-out form of planning, but we’re still working on that. So hold the thought.) Rittel and Webber , in their paper titled “Dilemmas in a General Theory of Planning,” postulate that there are two sorts of problems facing planners. The first they call “tame” problems. These are of the computational or mechanical variety, in the sense that we can usually compute or formulate our way to a distinct conclusion, in which we always get the same answer, and no mater who is conducting the operation, given basic expertise, the answer will not change. These sorts of problems are properly handled by the application of expertise.
But there is another class of problems, “wicked” problems, which must be approached with a fundamentally different frame of mind. Here, we are dealing with complex or organic phenomena, subject to evolutionary change (which, by the way, can quite properly be comprised of episodic and directionally random events). Here we must proceed with a fundamentally different frame of mind! And thereby hangs a quite intricate tale which, alas, will have to wait for another day.
By the way, and as a related aside, systems can be intricate and complicated without being complex. That is to say, we should not assume that “tame” problems are simple problems, necessarily. They are merely of a different class than “wicked” problems, which map onto the meme of complex systems.
In such a complex systems approach, and in line with the theoretical basis of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), this stakeholder group is constituted as early as possible in the problem-description making process, to “scope out” the terrain, so to speak. Problem “solving” begins the moment we begin to describe what it is we think to be “the problem”. There is no grace period within which the rules of participatory planning are suspended.
The creation of a functionally diverse and relevant stakeholder group is the single most important factor in a participatory problem management process. Reality, under conditions of complexity, is never singular. But at the same time, it can be adequately capture by the application of some few (two or three, perhaps) depictions. These depictions, however, must be strategically perspectival, in the sense that the perspectives and points-of-view should be functionally meaningful.
That, at its core, is the business of a systems approach to planning under complexity. Learn to make perspectivally robust descriptions of the problem space, choose the functionally relevant boundaries, decide on the functionally illustrative scales, and then the problem management process will almost shape itself. Asking the right questions is the savvy way to solve problems, and that, in its turn, is contingent on making descriptions which are rich in relevant information.
For your final assignment, you will choose between two options. You can either go into this as a group analysis project, in groups of three or four, or you can do this as an individual research paper.
Here are some pointers to various projects, initiatives and plans that are being implemented or being considered for implementation in the Southern California region, and that have a respectable body of reports and documentation to support them. These are NOT in any rank order. I have inserted some URLs, agency names, key words to help you in your initial search. I will gladly help you to build the documentation for your final project, but only after you’ve taken a first crack at it as a research exercise.
COURSE SCHEDULE AND TOPICAL OUTLINE:
Week of September 11: The Cultural Constructedness of Race
Week of September 18: Capturing the Construction of Identity
Week of September 25: Racial Polarities and Poverty
Week of October 2: Segregation and Integration
Week of October 9: Degrees of Separation
Week of October 16: Coming In to Los Angeles
Week of October 23: The 1992 “Unrest”
Week of October 30: Sources of Conflict
Week of November 6: A Basis for Cooperation
Week of November 13: Which Way, LA?
Week of November 20: The Shape of A Pragmatic Planning
Week of November 27: Reconciliation and Recentralization
Week of December 4: Compression and Tension
Week of December 11: Can We All Get Along?
COURSE READING SCHEDULE
Week of September 6: No Class
Week of September 11:
Witzig, Ritchie. 1996. “The Medicalization of Race: Scientific Legitimization of a Flawed Social Construct,” Annals of Internal Medicine, v125n8 (15 October 1996): 675-679. <http://www.annals.org/cgi/content/full/125/8/675>
Gould, Stephen Jay. 1994. The Geometer of Race, Discover, v15n11 (November 1994). [In the eighteenth century a disastrous shift occurred in the way Westerners perceived races. The man responsible was Johann Friedrich Blumenbach, one of the least racist thinkers of his day.] <http://www.discover.com/issues/nov-94/features/thegeometerofrac441/>
Freeman, Harold P. 2000. “The Meaning of Race In Science--Considerations for Cancer Research: Concerns of special populations in the National Cancer Program,” Cancer, v82n1 (31 October 2000): 219-225. [“Popular conceptualizations of race date back several centuries and, in particular, are rooted in 19th and early 20th century scientific thought. Such racial categories are based on externally visible traits, primarily skin color and facial features, but also on the shape and size of the head and body. The presumption was that immutable visible traits produced the measure of all other traits in an individual or a population. This presumption persists although scientists now estimate that all externally visible traits represent only 0.01% expression of the 100,000 genes that each individual has.’]
Week of September 18:
Gimenez, Martha E. 2001. “Marxism, and Class, Gender, and Race: Rethinking the Trilogy,” Race, Gender & Class, v8n2 (Apr 30, 2001): 23+
Gosine, Kevin. 2002. “Essentialism Versus Complexity: Conceptions of Racial Identity Construction in Educational Scholarship,” Canadian Journal of Education, v27n1 (2002): 81(19). [In this article, I critically review North American education-related literature on identity construction among Black youth. I integrate this body of scholarship to reveal an implicit two-pronged model for examining identity among racialized persons. The first level of analysis involves unveiling collective strivings for a coherent racial identity in the face of a racist society. The second level concerns the underlying complexity, rupture, and ambivalence that such collective quests for identity tend to mask. Multicultural and antiracism education fail to adequately consider the second level of identity, resulting in both approaches presenting an oversimplified and unsatisfactory view of racial and cultural diversity.]
Week of September 25:
Cruz-Janzen, Marta I. 2002. “Lives On The Crossfire: The Struggle Of Multiethnic And Multiracial Latinos For Identity In A Dichotomous And Racialized World,” Race, Gender & Class, v9n2 (Apr 30, 2002): 47+. [Group labeling affects individuals' self identity and perception and is critical to establishment and maintenance of social structures. U.S. "racial" classifications are designed to perpetuate its "Us" versus "Them," "white versus "non-white," or "White" versus "Other" power structure. They are designed to disperse accepted Whites from non-Whites in opposite directions. This has been known as the "Color Line" and all groups in the U.S., including newcomers, are systematically subjected to it. Educational opportunities, economic and social mobility, and political capital are inextricably tied to this power structure. The U.S. sorts, and boxes, people into five "racial" categories: 1- White, 2- Black, African American, or Negro, 3- American Indian or Alaskan Native, 4- Asian, and 5- Pacific Islander. While the racial classifications used are "sociopolitical constructs" rather than scientific or anthropological in nature (U.S. Census 2000) there are many misconceptions and misunderstanding surrounding them. It is commonly assumed that they are grounded on genetics and heredity.]
Cabaniss, Emily R. & Jill E Fuller. 2005. “Ethnicity, Race and Poverty Among Single Women: A Theoretical Synthesis,” Race, Gender & Class, v12n2 (2005): 142(21). [Poverty is an enduring problem in the United States that remains at the center of many research agendas. While much attention has focused on identifying segments of the population most at risk for experiencing periods of economic deprivation, such as single women, less attention has been devoted to examining the reasons behind greatly differing poverty rates across groups. Among poor women in the United States, some racial and ethnic minority groups suffer considerably more hardship and longer durations of poverty than other groups. Our work strives to synthesize theoretical perspectives toward a more complete explanation for why unmarried women of color are prone to being poor. It suggests a way of conceptualizing the unique impacts of cultural pressures and structural constraints that become amplified as they filter through individual circumstances and compound the effects of poverty for some groups of women. Considered in this work are: culture of poverty and assimilation theories, structural and feminist perspectives, as well as popular and situational explanations for poverty.]
Week of October 2:
Marcuse, Peter. 2005. “Enclaves Yes, Ghettos No,” 15-30 in David P. Varady (ed.), Desegregating the City: Ghettos, Enclaves, and Inequality. New York: State University New York Press.
Nyden, Philip & John Lukehart & Michael T. Maly & William Peterman. “Chapter 1: Neighborhood Racial and Ethnic Diversity in US Cities,” Cityscape: A Journal of Policy Development and Research, v4n2 (1998):1-17. [The existence of racially and ethnically diverse urban neighborhoods is one of our Nation’s best-kept secrets. Instead of telling about these places, the media regularly report on the continued legacy of racial and ethnic tensions in the United States. As the Nation is becoming more racially and ethnically diverse and the 21st century approaches, social scientists see possibilities of a patchwork of segregated urban neighborhoods or options for more diversity within our neighborhoods. Although diversity and multiculturalism are words in vogue, the current controversy about affirmative action suggests that there is hardly any consensus on the state or progress of race relations in the United States. In private conversations, out of public scrutiny, skepticism about the practicality of diversity—particularly diverse residential neighborhoods—is apparent. The politics of race is such a tinderbox that many dare not suggest a variation from business as usual, for fear of igniting caustic debates over this country’s history of racism and ethnocentrism and over what our future could look like. To some, the civil rights movement has been relegated to the halls of history—it is viewed as a movement of days past to be recognized and celebrated once a year.]
Week of October 9:
Fong, Eric & Kumiko Shibuya. 2005. “Multiethnic Cities In North America,” Annual Review of Sociology, v31 (2005): 285-304. [The growing Hispanic and Asian populations in most major North American cities have drastically transformed the urban demographic landscape to become racially and ethnically diversified. We review literature on multiethnic cities by focusing on three important aspects of urban structures and processes: racial and ethnic residential patterns, ethnic businesses, and the performance of racial and ethnic groups in the labor market. Although the literature has identified many factors that shape these urban structures and processes, our discussion specifically focuses on the effects of multigroup contexts on urban structures and processes. We focus and compare four major racial and ethnic groups: whites, blacks, Hispanics, and Asians. Specific ethnic subgroups of all four groups are also discussed.]
Week of October 16:
Fleetwood II, Homer. 2001. “You Can Hear Them a Mile Away: The Black Invasion of Los Angeles,” Negro History Bulletin, v64n1-4 (Jan-Dec 2001): 33-40.
Hise, Greg & Michael J. Dear & H. Eric Schockman. 1996. “Rethinking Los Angeles,” 1-14, in Michael J. Dear & H. Eric Schockman & Greg Hise (eds.), Rethinking Los Angeles. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Week of October 23:
Waldinger, Roger & Mehdi Bozorgmehr. “The Making of a Multicultural Metropolis,” 3-37, in Roger Waldinger & Mehdi Bozorgmehr (eds.), Ethnic Los Angeles. New Yrok: Russell Sage Foundation.
Twomey, Jane L. 2001. “Newspaper Coverage Of The 1992 Los Angeles Uprising: Race, Place, and the Story of the "Riot"; Racial Ideology In African American and Korean American Newspapers,” Race, Gender & Class, v8n4 (Oct 31, 2001): 140+. [The Sentinel distances the African American community from the "hordes of young people" and "street elements of the Black, Latino and White communities" (see Shifflett, 1992:A18; "Rioting, looting," 1992:A12) committing the violence by noting that the uprising is "an international, equal opportunity riot" (Pleasant, 1992). A front-page photo caption identifies a "Latino family" stealing furniture from a store and notes that it was "not an uncommon sight during the week's upheaval" ("A family affair," 1992:A1). Geographically, the uprising is not a "black" riot, it's a riot that "roared [sic] through the city -- many sections of the city, not just stereotypical South Central Los Angeles..." (Young, 1992:A20).]
Herman, Max. 2004. “Ten Years After: A Critical Review Of Scholarship On The 1992 Los Angeles Riot,” Race, Gender & Class, v11n1 (Jan 31, 2004): 116+. [Among the diverse assortment of journal articles and book chapters written shortly after the events of April 28 to May 2 1992 of Los Angeles, a pattern clearly emerges; a division among those who purported to study the "riots" in an "objective" empirical manner proclaimed by the positivist social science tradition, those who saw the "rebellion" as a means of investigating issues of ethnic identity, competition and cooperation, and those who utilized the "uprising" to address inequalities of power in the larger society. The former, whom I loosely refer to as positivists, relied on statistical analyses of "official data" to express the underlying logic of "urban unrest" or "civil disorder." The second camp, which I label "multiculturalists," employed ethnographic methods to examine the underlying motivations of various ethnic group members who acted as participants and/or victims during the "rebellion." The third and final group, whom I refer to as postmodernists, were mostly concerned with representing the voices of those at the margins of society, took a skeptical stance toward "official" sources, and treated the trial of LAPD officers and the subsequent riot as texts to be analyzed from the multiple perspectives of differently situated actors. They saw the "uprising" as indicative of race, class and gender oppression at the local, national, and global level.]
Week of October 30:
Chang, Edward T. 1994. “Jewish and Korean Merchants In African American Neighborhoods: A Comparative Perspective,” 5-21, in Edward T. Chang & Russell C. Leong (eds.), Los Angeles – Struggles toward Multiethnic Community: Asian American, African American & Latino Perspectives. Seattle: university of Washington Press.
Stewart, Ella. 1994. “Communication between African Americans and Korean Americans: Before and After the Los Angeles Riots,” 23-53, in Edward T. Chang & Russell C. Leong (eds.), Los Angeles – Struggles toward Multiethnic Community: Asian American, African American & Latino Perspectives. Seattle: university of Washington Press.
Week of November 6:
Saito, Leland T. 1994. “Asian American and Latinos in San Gabriel Valley, California: Ethnic Political Cooperation and Redistricting, 1990-92,” 55-68, in Edward T. Chang & Russell C. Leong (eds.), Los Angeles – Struggles toward Multiethnic Community: Asian American, African American & Latino Perspectives. Seattle: university of Washington Press.
Navarro, Armando. 1994. “The South Central Los Angeles Eruption: A Latino Perspective,” 69-85, in Edward T. Chang & Russell C. Leong (eds.), Los Angeles – Struggles toward Multiethnic Community: Asian American, African American & Latino Perspectives. Seattle: university of Washington Press.
Week of November 13:
Gottlieb, Robert et al. 2005. “A Policy Agenda for the Next LA,” 197-223, in Robert Gottlieb et al., The Next Los Angeles: The Struggle for a Livable City. Berkeley; Los Angeles: University of California Press.
Week of November 20:
James, Alvin. 2000. “Demographic Shifts and the Challenge for Planners: Insights from a Practitioner,” 15-35, in Michael A. Burayidi (ed.), Urban Planning In A Multicultural Society. Westport, CT: Praeger.
Beauregard, Robert B. 2000. “Neither Embedded Nor Embodied: Critical Pragmatism and Identity Politices,” 53-66, in Michael A. Burayidi (ed.), Urban Planning In A Multicultural Society. Westport, CT: Praeger.
Week of November 27:
Stein, Stanley & Thomas Harper. 2000. “The Paradox of Planning in a Multicultural Liberal Society: A Pragmatic Reconciliation,” 67-82 in Michael A. Burayidi (ed.), Urban Planning In A Multicultural Society. Westport, CT: Praeger.
Shore, William B. 1995. “Recentralization: The Single Answer to More Than A Dozen United States Problems and A Major Answer to Poverty,” Journal of the American Planning Association, v61n4 (Autumn 1995): 496(8). [A commentary addresses issues relating to the recentralization of US cities. Not until the centers of American cities regain their role as the principle places where people habitually mingle will the nation overcome the long-term poverty and racial/ethnic separation that now beset it. Recentralization of offices and research, retailing, the arts, higher education, health services, and entertainment will also help to solve other pressing national problems - social, economic, environmental, and governmental. As difficult as it is to imagine major businesses and institutions relocating in city centers, it is even more difficult to imagine the alternative - even greater apartheid.]
Week of December 4:
Pulido, Laura. 1996. “Multiethnic Organizing Among Environmental Justice Activists in Los Angeles,” 171-189, in Michael J. Dear & H. Eric Schockman & Greg Hise (eds.), Rethinking Los Angeles. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Adelman, Robert M. 2005. “The Roles of Race, Class, and Residential Preferences in the Neighborhood Racial Composition of Middle-Class Blacks and Whites,” Social Science Quarterly, v86n1 (Mar 2005): 209(20). [Adelman examines the roles of race, class, and residential preferences in the neighborhood racial composition of middle-class blacks and whites. It is found that middle-class blacks prefer to live in integrated neighborhoods with 60 percent blacks and 30 percent whites. Moreover, middle-class whites prefer to live in neighborhoods with 10 percent blacks and 85 percent whites.]
Week of December 11:
Nyden, Philip & Michael Maly & John Lukehart. 1997. “The Emergence of Stable Racially and Ethnically Diverse Urban Communities: A Case Study of Nine U.S. Cities,” Housing Policy Debate, v8n2 (1997): 491-534. [We examine the characteristics of 14 stable racially and ethnically diverse urban communities in 9 U.S. cities and point to policies that could strengthen these communities and encourage the growth of more diverse neighborhoods in American cities. The cities examined are Chicago, Denver, Houston, Memphis, Milwaukee, New York, Oakland, Philadelphia, and Seattle. University researchers and community leaders in each city collaborated on the research for this project. We identify two types of stable diverse communities, "self-conscious" and "laissez-faire," which have evolved for different reasons and with different characteristics. Stable diverse communities will not just happen, but they can be influenced by a number of policy recommendations stemming from our research. These include helping individuals and organizations take leadership roles in their communities, strengthening and enforcing fair housing and antidiscrimination laws, earmarking economic resources to encourage neighborhood diversity, and creating community safety and jobs programs.]