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Laboratories of the Next City: 

Hyperdiversity and Negotiation in the New Cosmopolis


How will we live with each other in the twenty-first century?  With over half of the world's population now residing in urbanized areas, the answer to this question lies in our great cities.  It is there, in the bustling streets, shops, parks, and playgrounds that large numbers of people encounter one another across lines of difference.  And it is out of the multiplication of such encounters that new social forms arise to reshape the terms of life in the globalizing city.


Laboratories of the Next City examines these spaces of encounter, and the people who inhabit and shape them, in the context of five hyperdiverse neighborhoods: Jackson Heights in New York; Peckham in London; St-Gilles in Brussels; Belleville in Paris; and Beyoğlu in Istanbul.  While drawing extensively on demographic data and life course narratives, the project makes primary use of documentary photographic methods to bring new spatial realities of the city into relief.  The central focus of the project is the emergence of the 'cosmopolis,' defined here as an urban condition that arcs toward and benefits from tolerance of human diversity.  This is not the abstract tolerance ennobled in state documents and laws, though these are important to the story.  Rather, it is the rough, multi-textured, always-incomplete tolerance achieved through constant negotiation between diverse groups in the practice of everyday social life.

The following sample photographs are drawn from Jackson Heights, NYC and Belleville, Paris.

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