Intercultural communication, city planning, and diversity in Winnipeg, Manitoba
Intercultural communication addresses some of the apparent challenges that surface from interactions among diverse people. The concept stretches beyond language and dialect barriers and includes the ways in which culture influences how people understand, create and respond to communication depending on where they are from, their life experiences, social structure, ethnicity, religion, education, occupation, and so on. This research acknowledges that culture is a broad and difficult to define concept because it influences individuals and groups in different ways, especially in an era of globalization. Through an exploration of literature, semi-structured interviews and a focus group, and applying the concept of intercultural communication to active planning practice, the research examines how a sample of Winnipeg planners learn and practice such intercultural communication. Their perspectives on this practice are then considered in the context of collaboration, where it is concluded that intercultural communication competencies can directly foster collaboration. The practice has potential benefits for the many diverse publics that now need to be better served through planning processes. Intercultural communication is an important practice of planners in culturally diverse cities such as Winnipeg because planners often find themselves in intermediary 'bridging' roles among diverse cultures. It is confirmed that intercultural communication requires a necessary set of competencies, values and skills that must influences one's planning practice.
intercultural, communication, planning, Winnipeg, Manitoba, diversity, interculturalism, collaboration, competencies