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The quest to negotiate equitable civic engagement : response of Toronto’s Sri Lankan Tamil community to social development planning in Canada’s largest multicultural metropolis Dickout, Leslie

Abstract

In this study I examine the connections between urban governance, social planning, civic participation and engagement, and the quest for full, active, democratic citizenship by marginalized groups, particularly immigrant communities living in Canada's multicultural cities. The notion of 'inclusive planning' within an ethno-culturally diverse urban context is explored through the examination of both the City of Toronto's approach to social development planning and the response of one newcomer community, the Sri Lankan Tamils, particularly through the work of the newly formed national organization, the Canadian Tamil Congress. My study is guided by five research questions that explore the roles and responsibilities of government, planners and communities in this context. I conclude by presenting a number of recommendations related to how planners can work toward a democratic renewal of planning in multicultural cities such as Toronto through the support and development of planning policies and practices that recognize equitable engagement, communication, negotiation, and partnership as guiding principles. These include a wide range of ideas related to identifying and challenging the forces of exclusion identified within my research, in order to construct a form of citizenship that is grounded in ongoing negotiation between the state and its citizenry.

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