|The 'Walking Voices' research project aimed to investigate perceptions and values of neighbourhoods as described by first generation immigrants, informing several academic and policy led 'strands' of place and migration.
Understandings of diversity of attachment to places, communities and feelings of belonging. The project focuses on the role of the physical landscape (spaces, sensory aspects, change over time) and how experience of place contributes to settlement processes and ideas of cultural identity.
How forms of attachment to the local neighbourhood can relate to conscious choice in participation in the public realm, and have broader implications for community cohesion and participation in environmental and recreational activities. Equally, these issues impact on individual 'quality of life'.
An urban context which addresses issues of multicultural cities. The Cantle Report cites the importance of a 'common sense of place' (Home Office, 2001, p.70) as easing potential tensions, yet policy related documents tend to focus on community cohesion as being a product of organisation and social structures rather than addressing the physical experience and opportunities of place. The creative tension between personal identity and experience of neighbourhood and city can be explored as a multiplicity of stories. An important facet of moving towards a greater sense of how diverse populations might 'share space' is to reveal and understand these stories and practices, and the relationship of these to histories of migration.
Policy makers and people involved in urban regeneration and design need to understand in more detail how immigrants to Britain feel on an everyday basis about their neighbourhood, both sources of tension and sources of connection and personal restoration.