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Tolerance and Intolerance in the City

A new study tries to determine what a “tolerant” city looks like.
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Flickr/Alan Light

Are cities really bastions of tolerance? My own work has found that members of the creative class prefer quasi-anonymous lives, giving cities an advantage in attracting a wider range of talented people across social and demographic groups. But as recent events in Baltimore and beyond remind us, cities have also seen eruptions of intolerance, violence and hate.  

A recent study, “Tolerance in the City,” published in Journal of Urban Affairs, explores this the connection between tolerance and urban life. The research, by sociologists Christopher Huggins at the University of Kentucky and Jeffrey Debies-Carl at the University of New Haven, takes a close look at a whether urban tolerance stems from indifference about one’s neighbors or rather a more conscious acceptance of different ways of living—the more contemporary view.