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This article examines how urbanism and local governance address group differences in cities of nationalistic conflict. I investigate four settings—Basque Country and Barcelona (Spain) and Sarajevo and Mostar (Bosnia-Herzegovina)—that have experienced intergroup conflict, war, and major societal transformations. Findings come primarily from over 100 interviews with urban professionals (both governmental and nongovernmental), community officials, academics, and political leaders in these cities. I find that urban areas can constitute unique and essential peace-building resources that can be used to transcend nationalist divides. Urban interventions aimed at creating inter-group coexistence can play distinct roles in societal peace building and constitute a bottom-up approach that supplements and catalyzes top-down diplomatic peace-making efforts. I discuss why some cities play a progressive role in shaping new societal paths while others do not, how this peace-constitutive city function is actualized, and how this type of urbanism can be misplaced or neglected.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of California, Irvine

Publication date: 2007-08-01

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