'Multicultural Planning' as a Contested Device in Urban Renewal and Housing : Reflections from the Netherlands

H.M. van der Horst, A. Ouwehand

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12 Citations (Scopus)


The academic literature on multicultural planning is rife with normative views which complicates any conceptualisation grounded in empirical realities. This paper offers a critical review of the dynamic and heterogeneous goals and challenges in multicultural urban planning in the Netherlands during a decade of waning support for multiculturalism. Multicultural planning has been used to justify various goals such as emancipating ethnic groups, matching supply and demand in the housing stock, enriching the urban landscape and ‘branding’ urban areas. The importance of each of these is strongly dependent on the socio-political context. From the review it is concluded that multicultural planning cannot be simply analysed according to normative positions as currently presented in the literature. It is argued that it is necessary to set aside normative definitions in order to analyse effectively the different and dynamic objectives and challenges associated with multicultural planning
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)861-875
JournalUrban Studies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2012



  • ethnicity
  • diversity
  • city

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