(February 2012) Urban Form of Transculturalism: a question of method
The everyday superficial social interaction is among the first steps to let culturally diverse group of people get to know their differences (Amin, 2002). This research tries to analyze the physical form of the small-scale urban spaces where those everyday encounters could happen more often. The author argues that the urban form can influence the urban quality by making spaces which have the power to either promote or hinder the everyday superficial social interactions among different groups. In other words, if the built environment bolster up the presence of culturally diverse groups of people in a specific location and prevent the formation of spaces of exclusion (Bærenholdt & Kirsten, 2004), it improves the chance of casual social interaction, which per se leads to the establishment of "weak social ties" (Skjaeveland & Garling, 1997).
By employing the concept of transculturalism, it is aimed to define the spaces of multiculturalism, which is not based on the difference of cultures, but on the social interaction and dialogue among different cultures (Parekh, 2006), happening in "public domains" (Hajer & Reijndorp, 2001). It is discussed that if there is no negotiation and interaction among different cultures which are present in a same place, the space may portray a mere collection of different cultures which can be labeled as multicultural enclaves.
This research suggests that urban morphology, as an interdisciplinary field (Moudon, 1997), can be employed to study the relation between urban form and cultural diversity. Also, it shows how urban form may increase the shared domains of people's "songlines" (Marling, 2004) in everyday encounters in micro-scale urban spaces.