Design that enables diversity: The complications of a planning ideal

Emily Talen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

108 Scopus citations


This article reviews the literature on place diversity and the quest to use design to promote social and economic mix in human settlements. The article fits together a large literature on the subject of the interrelationship between diversity and place and explores how diversity could be enabled within the context of the city - planning profession. It argues that the linkage between city planning - defined in its traditional sense as a profession concerned with the design of cities - and place diversity is understudied. Four distinct though interrelated theoretical bases for diversity are discussed: place vitality, economic health, social equity, and sustainability. The article argues that the promotion of place diversity requires focused effort on the part of planners, and that design-based strategies are an appropriate part of that effort.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)233-249
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Planning Literature
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Mixed-income housing
  • Social diversity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development


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