Our cultural identities, the things that make each person unique play a huge position in shaping our lives. The differences can be seen in traditions, ideals, and values. These differences are not something that people should be ashamed of, it is something that makes each person who they are. As the world gets connected each day, we need to have spaces that recognize and celebrate this diversity. Imagine a place where everyone feels like they fit in, where their heritage is noticed and celebrated. There comes the relevance of creating spaces that respect and reflect diverse cultural identities.

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The Haw Par Villa_©Manfred Gottschalk

Cultural identity refers to the collective feeling of belonging and identification that people share with a specific group, influenced by a blend of factors that grant a culture its distinctive character and uniqueness. It surpasses aspects like language and encompasses a diverse array of elements that add to the cultural heritage of a community.

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The National Museum of African American History and Culture_©Frank Schulenberg

Individuals hailing from different cultural backgrounds often face difficulties in different domains, such as the workplace, educational institutions, and social settings. These difficulties arise due to disparities in communication approaches, subtle acts of discrimination, and prejudiced attitudes. Cultural insensitivity makes these challenges worse, showing up in subtle bias, stereotypes, or excluding behaviour. This has a big impact, making people feel like they don’t belong, causing emotional and mental health problems, lowering productivity, and breaking down trust. To fix this, we need to promote diversity, impartiality, and inclusion. This can be done through cultural sensitivity training, inclusive policies, and open conversations. By doing this, we can make environments more welcoming and supportive, making sure everyone from different cultural backgrounds feels important and included.

Inclusive design is like a foundation for creating spaces that respect cultural identities. It focuses on thinking about everyone’s needs, likes, and values when designing. It aims to make the spaces emotionally and culturally meaningful for people from different backgrounds. Inclusive design is important because it helps everyone feel like they belong, breaks down barriers, and creates a shared community experience. These can be public spaces with art from different cultures, buildings designed with inspiration from various cultures, and technology that includes everyone.

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Haw Par Villa_©Delfina Utomo

Haw Par Villa,  a theme park from Singapore is an example of a space that reflects diverse cultural identities. While retaining its cultural roots, the park now incorporates elements from various Asian cultures, broadening its appeal to a more extensive audience. This diversity reflects Singapore’s multicultural identity, showcasing a mix of conventional Chinese mythology with the impacts of different numerous Asian traditions. The National Museum of African American History and Culture In Washington is a testimony to inclusive design, representing a comprehensive exploration of African American history and culture. The building’s structure blends present-day and conventional African layout factors, depicting the range within the African American experience. There are other examples such as the Sydney Opera House, the Nubuke Foundation and the Aga Khan Museum, in Toronto. 

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The Taj Mahal_©Yann

From the old times, art and buildings have been important tools that show and respect different cultures. In design, these creative things are like lively ways to keep and celebrate the special stories and cultural details of different groups of people. The Taj Mahal from India may be taken into consideration as an example of this. It is a beautiful architectural wonder that seamlessly combines Persian, Islamic, and Indian influences. The detailed carvings, shapes, and special stones used in it aren’t just parts of the building – they’re like special ways to show how different artistic styles came together during the Mughal time, showing that different traditions can live together in harmony.

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Common Threads by Meg Saligman_©Tom Crane

When it comes to art, Public art is like a big canvas where symbols and stories from specific communities come together, making people feel proud and connected. Take the “Mural Arts Program” in Philadelphia, for example. They make colourful paintings, called murals, that tell the stories of different ethnic groups. One mural, “Common Threads,” in South Philadelphia, uses bright pictures and symbols to celebrate the diverse cultures in the neighbourhood. This kind of art makes public places lively reflections of our shared history and who we are. It helps people from different backgrounds feel seen, heard, and like they belong. Getting ideas from the community when designing spaces is really important, especially if we want these places to truly show and respect different cultures. When people from the community share their knowledge, thoughts, and experiences, it makes sure that the final places not only look nice but also have a strong connection to the culture of the people who live there.

The intricate interplay between cultural identities, art, architecture, and community involvement underscores the profound impact that inclusive design can have on our shared spaces. Whether it’s in art, buildings, city planning, or community projects, let’s aim to make spaces that don’t just notice but truly celebrate the diversity of cultures in our societies. This means always listening to and involving communities, understanding how symbols and stories matter, and making sure everyone feels like they belong. By doing this, we can help build lively, welcoming spaces that truly represent and enrich our shared human experience.


  • Common Threads – Mural Arts Philadelphia Mural Arts Philadelphia. (n.d.). Mural Arts Philadelphia. Retrieved February 17, 2024, from https://www.muralarts.org/artworks/common-threads/ 
  • Coward, L. (2022, August 3). Haw Par Villa: ‘an Asian version of Alice in Wonderland’. Asia Media Centre. Retrieved February 17, 2024, from https://www.asiamediacentre.org.nz/features/haw-par-villa-an-asian-version-of-alice-in-wonderland/ 
  • Hell and History at Singapore’s Haw Par Villa. (2017, September 20). Remote Lands. Retrieved February 17, 2024, from https://www.remotelands.com/travelogues/closer-eye-hell-history-singapores-haw-par-villa/ 
  • Journal of Subcontintent Researches. (n.d.). Taj Mahal as a Mirror of Multiculturalism and Architectural Diversity in India. Retrieved February 17, 2024, from https://jsr.usb.ac.ir/article_1200.html?lang=en 
  • Seifert, S. C. (n.d.). DSpace. DSpace. Retrieved February 17, 2024, from https://repository.upenn.edu/exhibits/orgunit/siap_mural_arts 
  • Visiting the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. (n.d.). Washington DC. Retrieved February 17, 2024, from https://washington.org/visit-dc/guide-to-smithsonian-national-museum-african-american-history-culture 
  • Wilson, V. (n.d.). What is Cultural Identity and Why is it Important? Exceptional Futures. Retrieved February 16, 2024, from https://www.exceptionalfutures.com/cultural-identity/ 


  1. https://media.cnn.com/api/v1/images/stellar/prod/221114095231-01-body-hell-museum-singapore-haw-par-villa.jpg?q=w_1110,c_fill/f_webp 
  2. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:National_Museum_of_African_American_History_and_Culture_in_February_2020.jpg 
  3. https://media.timeout.com/images/105411178/1024/768/image.webp 
  4. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Taj_Mahal_(Edited).jpeg 
  5. https://www.muralarts.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/CT_site.jpg 

Krishnanunni, an avid reader and English graduate, is passionate about films, traveling, and learning about history. He tries to capture and explore the essence of moments through the art of writing and photography.