Multidimensionality

Research must take the complexity and multidimensionality of social cohesion into account by envisaging the city as a whole. This requires a systemic, relational; holistic and integrated approach which is structural as well as path-sensitive and context-specific. It requires context-sensitive models which structure the multiple problems concerning social cohesion and involve non-western research epistemologies and perspectives. The meanings assigned to key concepts such as ‘diversity,’ ‘identity,’ ‘social cohesion’ and ‘equality’ in different theories and policy communities should be made explicit to achieve conceptual clarity as well as policy coherence. Attention should be paid to the interplay between physical, economic, political and cultural transformations in cities and how they affect the living conditions and social relationships of particular populations, neighbourhoods, socioeconomic dynamics as well as the role of cities and city regions in sustaining economic and occupational restructuring, in concentrating, centralising and distributing resources.