Diversity and cohesion in Britain’s most mixed community

Diversity and cohesion in Britain’s most mixed community

Financial Times

John McDermott

At the Barking Road Community Centre in Plaistow, dancers sway and twirl to calypso beats. If the music hints at the centre’s past as an Afro-Caribbean club, the mix of elderly boppers suggest how the composition of this pocket of east London is changing. As well as women with Nigerian and Jamaican heritage, there are those with roots in India, Pakistan, Colombia, Poland and the Philippines. They show why Plaistow is the clearest example of what researchers describe as London’s “super-diversity”.

“If London is the most diverse city in the world, and Plaistow is the most diverse part of the city, Plaistow might be the most diverse place in the world,” says Forhad Hussain, a local councillor. When Hussain came to the area in 1983 with his Bangladeshi-born parents, this part of the city was mostly white and working-class, home to dockers and their families who had stayed put as Plaistow was rebuilt after the devastation wrought by the Blitz

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