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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Urban Specialist Comes to UMB

Dr. Michael Keith is the Director of the Centre for Urban and Community Research at London University’s Goldsmith College and this year’s recipient of UMB’s Robert C. Wood Visiting Professorship in Public and Urban Affairs.

A scholar and research center director, as well as a political activist currently charged with urban regeneration in London’s East End, Keith’s focus is on the nature of urban growth in the 21st century and the changing demographics in Western cities and the impact they have on policy and race relations.

Keith’s speech revolved around the clash of traditional Western European culture with the influx of immigrants from the East and South in the increasingly urbanized modern world. He highlighted the multicultural mosaic from his own native London East End, particularly the so-called “Thames Gateway,” part of the city that hosts the new housing developments needed to sustain new immigrants to London.

Keith explained how the local governments of the 21st century will be forced to face a debate between minorities and the “traditionalist” right.

“There is a very real sense,” Keith noted, “in which issues of multiculturalism become a major challenge in how we think about our cities. [This is] precisely because of the way in which communities are increasingly formed in such a context across the globe.”

Furthermore, Keith says that it is the duty of local officials to mediate cultural conflicts within cities before they escalate into violence, citing London’s mail bomber, who took aim at key iconic sites of multiculturalism in the city three years ago.

The Robert C. Wood Visiting Professorship in Public and Urban Affairs is a seat hosted by the McCormack Graduate School of Policy in the name of the former UMB president. The professorship links scholarly pursuits with practical problems and wide-scale social policies, which characterized Wood’s scholarly career. Michael Keith is the sixth annual recipient of the visiting professorship.