Urban Social Risk (Mis)Management: Seeing Colours In Cities

Urban Social Risk (Mis)Management: Seeing Colours In Cities

Lee Boon Thong

Rapid population growth in large cities has often led to a heightened colouration of people groups residing in cities. These processes actually provide opportunities for city authorities, either through overt or covert policies, to consciously integrate the colour groups. However, cities instead have seen the persistence and consolidation of orthogenetic expression rather than the attenuation of residential segregation. Although this inevitably results in an increasing cohesiveness (and sense of security) among the respective ethnic spaces, it amplifies the inter-ethnic delineation. It is at the expense of a larger and more desirable notion of total urban coherence and nation building. In Kuala Lumpur, in particular, "voluntary" segregation and legislated ethnic confines have exacerbated the unseen walls of ethnic residential compartmentalisation. This paper briefly argues that this city growth experience, which increasingly fragments the city into distinct ethnically-identified spaces, leads to subtle local empowerment, exclusionary closure of specific spaces and perceived social inequality, among others, which run contrary to the basic notions of urban social sustainability.

Prof. Dr. Lee Boon Thong
Nilai University
Malaysia