Multicultural Planning in Mid-Sized Cities
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Multiculturalism embraces racial and cultural differences within a society. This is a well-established aspect of Canadian life, especially in Canada’s largest cities because the majority of immigrants prefer to settle in major urban areas. Planning practice in these large cities has evolved to reflect and incorporate considerations of multiculturalism. However, the experience in many of Canada’s mid-sized cities is considerably different. While mid-sized cities see benefits in attracting immigrants and multiculturalism, planning practice seems less progressive in this sense. This thesis explores how urban planners in Ontario’s mid-sized cites could incorporate multiculturalism in order to promote more inclusive planning practice. This research reveals that planners in Ontario’s mid-sized cities do not have a clear perception of multicultural planning due to several key factors, which include a lack of training, the modernist principles of urban planning in a postmodern society, and inter-departmental dis-connects within local government administrations. Further, the study demonstrates that many planners do not consider multicultural planning to be an important issue due to the lack of cultural diversity within their city. Based on these and related findings, this thesis recommends that additional training on multicultural planning be required within all planning schools, and that practicing planners should be required to take continuing studies on multicultural planning and current planning issues. Furthermore, it recommends planners learn how to promote an inclusive practice, and require all federal and provincial planning legislation and leading organizations (CIP, OPPI, PA, and PSB) work together to determine the role of planners and cultural diversity at the municipal level. Planning Departments should establish stronger protocols in order to ensure they are aware of all cultural plans and initiatives within the municipality, which impact land use and social planning; this reflects the dis-connect between various municipal departments and the Planning Department. Furthermore, planners should promote a more inclusive planning practice by encouraging immigrants to participate in their local government, and consider cultural differences when conducting public participation and outreach.