Cities are anonymous yet intimate communities, in which people from a variety of backgrounds typically live and work cheek-by-jowl. In many modern cities however, ethnic groups choose - or are compelled - to live segregated lives. What happens in circumstances where the cultural ethos or national status of the city itself is questioned, where there is no common acceptance of what language should predominate or even of what sovereign state the city should form a part? In such circumstances serious conflicts may occur. Sometimes these are managed peacefully, as in Brussels and Montreal. Other historical cases, such as Danzig/Gdansk and Trieste, have been resolved in favour of one of the parties after a major war. In cities such as Belfast or Jerusalem, protracted violence has failed to deliver a solution. Contested Cities in the Modern West examines the role of international interventions, state policies and social processes in influencing such situations.

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