Leonie Sandercock: Where Strangers become Neighbours: a Canadian Defense of Multiculturalism

Multiculturalism as a political philosophy and public policy has been under attack for at least a decade in the US and now Europe has joined the chorus. But multiculturalism means different things in different places and bends with local political cultures. My combined lecture and film will discuss and then demonstrate the potential social and political virtues of the idea, as practiced in one nation.


Leonie Sandercock joined the School of Community & Regional Planning at UBC in July 2001 and became Director of the School in July 2006. Her current research interests including immigration, cultural diversity and integration; participatory planning, democracy, and information and communication technologies; fear and the city, particularly as this relates to 'fear of the other'; the possibilities of a more therapeutic model of planning; the importance of stories and storytelling in planning theory and practice; and the micro-practices of power, discourse, and institutions in urban governance. Leonie was Professor and Head of Graduate Urban Studies at Macquarie University in Sydney from 1981-1986, before moving to Los Angeles where she had two careers, one in screenwriting, the other teaching in the Graduate School of Architecture and Urban Planning at UCLA, both of which were life-transforming experiences. She has also written books about sport (Australian football) and about the Australian labor movement, and had one of her screenplays produced as an ABC TV Movie of the Week while living in LA. Her best known urban writings are Cities for Sale (1975); Public Participation in Planning (1975); The Land Racket (1979); Urban Political Economy: the Australian Case (1983), with Mike Berry; Making the Invisible Visible: A Multicultural History of Planning (1998); and Towards Cosmopolis: Planning for Multicultural Cities (1998). She published her tenth book, Cosmopolis 2: Mongrel Cities of the 21st Century in 2003. She loves the irrepressible chaos and contradictions of cities, but worries about their 'sustainability', in the broadest sense.



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