The Spatial Politics of Diversity Discourses: Regenerating Croydon Metropolitan Centre

Sara Özogul

Abstract


Discourses on diversity are increasingly criticised in many fields of public policy. This study draws on the example of regeneration in the Centre of Croydon, a diverse outer-London borough, in order to explore the role of diversity discourses in the imagination and creation of new urban spaces. A framework put forward by Fincher and Iveson (2008) is utilised, who contend that any local effort to plan for diversity should follow the norms recognition, redistribution and encounter. It is argued that questions on recognition are largely absent in the regeneration of Croydon Metropolitan Centre, and redistribution is discursively substituted by an individualised focus on economic opportunities. As such, discourses provide particular sets of rationalities about the influence and scope of planning as well as the imagination of new urban spaces. Nevertheless, counter common criticism, discussions and contestations about inequality are clearly on the agenda in Croydon. Top-down framings of diversity are contested and especially the strong politicisation of encounters between socio-economic groups provides the potential to develop alternative forms of socially oriented planning. 


Keywords


Diversity; Discourses; Planning; Regeneration; London

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