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Spatiality of Multiculturalism
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Urban Planning and Environment.
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Multiculturalism, as a set of ideas and policies, is one of the normative approaches to the current situation of cultural diversity in multicultural cities. But how can the ideas of multiculturalism be translated into the reality of urban form? The overall aim of this dissertation is to provide a theoretical and conceptual frame of reference for distilling and identifying the ideas of multiculturalism which can be translated into spatial form, and in this way, to highlight the role urban form may play in addressing the situation of living living 'together-in-difference’ . In this study, the relation between the materiality of urban form and the political framework of multiculturalism is at the core of the discussion.

In its exploration into multiculturalism, the thesis identifies theoretical lacunae in explaining the spatial dimensions of multiculturalism. To be able to discuss multiculturalism in urban form terms, the dissertation chooses the position of a ‘civility of indifference’, developed by Amin (2012), as one of many possible stances within this discourse as an operative conception for such an exercise. Adopting the logical argumentation as the research strategy, the thesis delves deep into the conceptual domain mapped by space syntax theory as a primary system in this endeavour, and accordingly, describes how the spatial form of the city, by way of human movement, has the potential to create a variety of social groupings. Thereupon the thesis develops a secondary conceptual system with explanatory applicability to the relation between multiculturalism and spatial form. Supported by these systems of argumentation, the study describes how the spatial morphology of the city may have influence on the situation of living together. It is suggested that overlapping spaces represent the spaces where urban structure potentially can provide the spatial viability for the emergence of a ‘civility of indifference’ and its two organizing principles of co-presence and multiplicity.

Hence, the dissertation intends to contribute to theoretical efforts into the experience of living ‘together-in-difference’ from architectural and urban design perspectives, and argues that multiculturalism distinctly possesses spatial dimensions, which should be conceptualized and addressed through the theoretical lens of spatial form. Hence, the thesis defends that notwithstanding being a complex of social processes, the spatial dimensions of multiculturalism should not be belittled in efforts to address the situation of living together in the multicultural cities of the West.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2015. , 211 p.
TRITA-SOM, ISSN 1653-6126 ; 2015:06
Keyword [en]
spatial form, multiculturalism, ‘civility of indifference’, co-presence, multiplicity, overlapping spaces, ‘together-in-difference’.
National Category
Research subject
Planning and Decision Analysis; Architecture
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-167636ISBN: 978-91-7595-595-7OAI: diva2:813394
Public defence
2015-06-12, E2, Lindstedsvägen 3 (03 tr), KTH, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)

QC 20150522

Available from: 2015-05-22 Created: 2015-05-22 Last updated: 2015-08-10Bibliographically approved

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Sarraf, Mohammad
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