A growing concern about the direction many European towns and cities are going in has emerged in recent years. Most Europeans, as the cliché goes, commonly like to consider themselves as a quintessentially tolerant and egalitarian people. A series of incidents – local and international – over recent years have shaken that selfunderstanding: 9/11 in New York and 7/7 in London, the murder of Dutch film-maker Theo van Gogh in Amsterdam, protests about cartoons portraying the prophet Mohammed in Denmark’s JyllandsPosten, and civil disturbances in the banlieues of France and the mill towns of England. Now some stark and not easily answered questions are on the agenda about what European society means and, more pertinently, who is in and who might be outside it.