Urban Fold

"Ghettos" or "Enclaves"?

Studies showing rising concentrations of poorer immigrant groups in Canada's largest cities is causing concern that the country is becoming polarized. But, writes Doug Saunders, such enclaves may be the first step towards integration.

"The ghetto-versus-enclave debate has been heating up as a topic of scholarly battles...That's because Canada has just realized that it has a lot more [concentrated ethnic diversity] than it used to. We know this thanks to detailed new studies by University of Toronto researcher David Hulchanski, which reveal that Toronto (and likely Vancouver too) is becoming dominated by poor, immigrant-majority neighbourhoods, which are swamping the better-off, largely white areas.

In the media, news of this clustering of immigrants is glibly portrayed as the rise of ethnic ghettos. The implication was that Canada's cities are slipping into self-segregation and polarization, both economic and racial – that we're becoming two urban solitudes, never to meet. Yet there is another way to look at these numbers, one that may be much more applicable to Canada.

A number of scholars have come to realize that uni-ethnic neighbourhoods are actually the quickest and most likely to integrate, both culturally and economically. Ethnic clustering, in this analysis, is simply a vital first step toward becoming full members of mainstream society, something that can take more than a generation."

Full Story: Are poor, 'ethnic' areas cages?

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