An inclusive city is a city in which the processes of development include a wide variety of citizens and activities. These cities maintain their wealth and creative power by avoiding marginalization, which compromises the richness of interaction upon which cities depend.

Our working premise is that inclusive cities are both more affluent and more socially just.

Inclusive cities are more affluent because they mobilize and enable a wider spectrum of people and talents than a city in which some of those human resources are marginalized. They are also more socially just. By including the otherwise marginalized in the productive activities and opportunities of the city, they offer better access to pathways for social and economic betterment.

Inclusiveness works against social and economic exclusion, and their shadow: urban decay. It works against dividing the city into ghettoes of despair without opportunities for upward economic mobility.  It does not mean freezing growth or preventing redevelopment; rather, the opposite—encouraging more sustainable, prosperous, comprehensive growth and development by avoiding exclusivity and dislocation and the heavy, often ignored costs they carry.

It's well known that poverty and social exclusion are multi-dimensional problems, and there is no magic bullet. CIU focuses on the spatial dimension to poverty, at all scales. But we also understand that a spatial understanding by itself is radically incomplete, and often ineffectual. Therefore, we seek an integrated understanding which maps the interrelationships between the spatial and the economic, social, cultural and historical aspects of poverty and social exclusion. We look both at city form, and at processes of urban formation. Our activities range from research, to research in practice, to practical work that seeks to include disadvantaged urban communities in all dimensions of urban life.

Inclusive cities bring otherwise marginalized activities into the center to join otherwise privileged activities, so one may see the following sharing urban space, cheek by jowl:

  • rich and poor

  • different ethnicities

  • businesses and the arts

  • goods production, knowledge work, learning and play

  • students, workers and retirees

  • people and products from the surrounding countryside

  • children and adults

  • people of all varieties of ability and disability

  • new immigrants, visitors, and founding families

  • inclusive governance that brings all of these perspectives into the shaping of the city.

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