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Identity Politics 
Before we can address the nature of a noncommercial, civic identity at a regional scale, however, we have to come to terms with the character of that identities. In a diverse metropolitan area, there are questions of minority versus majority identity and of how they might both be represented.  This issue of the balance between the moral clarity of majority rule and the respect for the individual that protects minority interests is complex enough in the law, but in the realm of culture, art, politics, and civic identity, finding answers will be very difficult indeed. Today there is one center of the traditional city, and its remaining civic language—the monocultural language of the melting pot —is often seen as not meaningful or relevant to the bulk of urban residents. If one lives in the suburbs, there is virtually no civic presence at all. If the lack of accessible civic identity is contributing to our sense of fragmentation, we must find a way to build a more inclusive civic identity, one that balances the center with the margins. 

Ring City seeks to  make over large parts of our cities and suburbs by redirecting exurban investment back toward the urban center. The identity of this new realm Appendx 3 page break 141 | 142 will be up for debate. Richard Sennett says that we are desensitized by the speed at which we travel through today's fragmented urban spaces: "the look of urban space enslaved to the powers of motion is necessarily neutral...the driver wants to go through the space, not be aroused by it."20 So what will happen when we slow down? How will we be aroused? The question of the nature of the shared identity of this Ring City is perhaps its most demanding one. The powerful political metaphors of the melting pot and the quilt will have to be included in the answer, but perhaps a particular city will also be able to find something that distinguishes its identity from that of another. The very presence of a new peripheral way of moving through them will give many cities a new identity all by itself. 

But this proposal isn't only about movement, politics, scale, or identity by themselves; it is about their relationship to the idea of fragmentation, and how urban design, transportation planning, and political ideas might be coordinated to resist that fragmentation and reconnect parts of our society that have become disengaged from one another. The relationship of spatial hierarchy to social order underscores the important role of centralized planning strategies throughout history. The mechanics of the Ring City idea, then, are found in some of the basic principles of urban page 

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