A Tale of Two Cities: Framing urban diversity as content curation in super-diverse London and Toronto

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Mike Raco
Tuna Taşan-Kok


In major cities across the world policy-makers are searching for new ways to represent and govern their increasingly diverse populations.  In this paper we analyse the ways in which authorities in two global cities, London and Toronto, have drawn on corporate, public management, strategies as their principal mode of diversity governance.  In both we see a shift in policy making as a conscious attempt to reframe and re-imagine cities as corporate-like structures that can be conceptualised, represented, and managed through the lens of diversity management. In both cities specific representations of the city and its populations are curated to fulfil wider policy objectives. City governments present both as iconic centres of diversity, super-diversity or hyper-diversity, that embody and represent an era of progressive globalisation and new forms of contemporary cosmopolitan living.  The presence of diversity is celebrated and seen a key component of ‘success agendas’. This paper is based on empirical evidence derived from a policy-oriented research project in both cities.  Policy analysis and critical discourse analysis are conducted in both cities on the basis of review of policy documents at national, local and community scales, and interviews with policy makers. The paper first frames diversity as a technology of description, where we explain how diversity has become a curation strategy in public management within the framework of growing mobility of management frameworks and shifts in framing diversity in urban policies. We will then provide a comparative analysis of London and Toronto.

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Articles (refereed)
Author Biographies

Mike Raco, Bartlett School of Planning, University College London, UK

Mike Raco (B.A., Ph.D.) is Professor of Urban Governance and Development in the Bartlett School of Planning, University College London.  His background is in Planning, Geography, and Urban Studies.  He has published widely on the topics of urban governance and regeneration, urban sustainability, social diversity, and the politics of urban and regional economic development. 

Tuna Taşan-Kok, University of Amsterdam

Tuna Tasan-Kok is Professor of Urban Governance and Planning, in the Department of Geography, Planning and International Development, University of Amsterdam.