How can we address patterns of inequality in the twenty-first century city? More crucial, how do we address inclusion for all urban citizens? Does city-building without community engagement violate the very sense of community itself? 

Contemporary urban cities are the seat of prosperity and inequality in equal measure. The gentrification of lower-cost neighbourhoods suggest a milieu increasingly made up of an emphasis on spaces for an urban elite at the exclusion of diversity. Socio-spatial inequality, moreover, polarises neighbourhoods where wealthy enclaves push out lower income populations. To-date the concept of the ‘liveable city’ does not suffice; nor does it help us understand how cities are imagined as collective or ‘cultural’ entities.

Commissioned as part of ‘Activating Our Cities’, Citizen Engagement with the Changing City examines meaningful citizen engagement in city-building for the future. In this e-book, University of Toronto-based, Dr Shauna Brail, reflects on the urban challenges facing the contemporary city.

As an antidote to socio-spatial inequality that polarises neighbourhoods in the contemporary urban city, Brail squarely faces city-building where social infrastructure is prioritised. Distilling her research across North America, the UK and placemaking initiatives in India, Brail offers a practicable approach to meaningful citizen engagement for all urbanites in the complex, contemporary city.

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