Thursday, January 05, 2006

The Challenge of Cultivating Diversity

The Tribune had a nice article yesterday on the New Urbanist development Prairie Crossing in Grayslake, IL. It seems, despite the developers' best intentions and efforts to make the place economically and racially diverse, it ain't working.

That story correlates to an article I stumbled across on diversity issues earlier this week. The National Institute for Health says that when there is only a little racial diversity, teens tend to form main friendships among those who are similar to them. When the diversity is more pronounced, they form relationships across all racial groups.

So, the trick, it seems is getting a critical mass of diverse people with diverse incomes in physical proximity to one another. It makes sense to me that the housing opportunities need to correlate to foster the proximity, like New Urbanists argue. And, of course, that's much easier said than done.

The article cites the Home Town development in Aurora, IL as doing a better job at achieving economic and racial diversity, but it concedes Aurora had that going for it to begin with unlike Grayslake.

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