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Social Inequality in the City, Diversity & Design


Entry requirements

Not applicable


This course is given at the Technical University Delft, and is part of the Governance of Migration and Diversity Master programme.

This course takes a socio-spatial view on migration, social inequality and diversity, and how these phenomena impact on neighbourhoods and cities, but also on individual people. The focus is on the interchange between the built environment, population composition and residential behaviour.On a theoretical and empirical level, the course will address various forms of neighbourhood change over time, in particular socio-spatial segregation and urban regeneration, and their implications for neighbourhoods and individuals, in particular ‘neighbourhood effects’.

Moving on to policy and design, the course will identify how the concept of diversity is alternately considered as either a problem or a solution (or both) in various domains of urban development. We will address various urban policies and strategies addressing social inequality with an explicit diversity component (such as social mix / tenure mix). Special attention will be devoted to the roles of relevant actors in these contexts. In doing so, the course tackles the question to what extent urban policies and design can contribute to absorbing negatively perceived outcomes of diversity and strengthen its perceived benefits. Apart from unravelling relevant theories, the course will provide examples of recent policies that have attempted to address city- and neighbourhood-based issues around migration and diversity.

The acquired knowledge will be applied to a real life case study. In a Design Game, groups of students will create a strategic plan for a neighbourhood which suffers from negative implications of its diversity, and for which clever solutions must be created. The Design Game will be conducted in co-operation with a housing association, local authorities and other stakeholders.

Course objectives

After completing the course, students can:

  • Explain various forms of long-term neighbourhood change and their implications for neighbourhoods and individual residents, both from a theoretical and empirical perspective;

  • Identify the underlying mechanisms in urban policies and urban design which aim to create positive benefits from diversity and migration, or combat their perceived negative implications;

  • Evaluate the socio-spatial implications of various forms of social inequality and related policies from a multi-level and multi-actor perspective;

  • Design solutions (in physical, social, cultural and economic sense) for diversity-related problems in neighbourhoods, taking into account the roles and resources of relevant stakeholders.


Not applicable.

Mode of instruction

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Course load

Not applicable

Assessment method

  • The strategic plan completed in the Design Game (40%)

  • A written exam (open questions: 60%).

Each assessment element should be passed with a minimum grade of 5.8 before the final grade will be determined.

For more information on the assessment method, contact Dr. R.J. Kleinhans


Not applicable

Reading List

Not applicable.


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Registration Studeren à la carte en Contractonderwijs

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TU Delft course description R.J. Kleinhans


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