Birmingham's rich ethnic diversity is used to "package" the city globally but its black and Asian people are living in segregated communities, it was claimed yesterday.
Visitors were shown land-marks such as the Balti belt, Central Mosque and the Chinese Quarter as examples of the city's multicultural credentials, said Dr Richard Gale of Birmingham University's Department of Sociology.
Meanwhile ethnic minority groups are ghettoised in the most poverty-stricken areas characterised by poor housing, high crime and urban decay, he claimed.
Speaking at a Birmingham conference looking at cohesion within British society, Dr Gale said: "Birmingham City Council has actively promoted its emerging role as a global city since the 80s and 90s.
"Council leader Mike Whitby described it as being a 'global player in order to attract inward investment'. What is seen to be distinct about Birmingham's claim to global city status is the social diversity that categorises its population."
Dr Gale highlighted the introduction of street furniture and bollards in Ladypool Road to promote the Balti belt as a tourism attraction, but added: "There is a paradox.
"Birmingham's diversity is represented within that in a very positive way but yet there are other influences which play out unequally in terms of religious and ethnic groups. One of these is segregation.
"Birmingham is being packaged as an emerging global city but at the same time there are some contradictions playing out that aren't getting articulated."
As well as the concentration of ethnic people in poor areas, Dr Gale said applications for Mosques and madrasas - Islamic schools - were disproportionately rejected by planning chiefs.
Writer, broadcaster and cultural critic Professor Ziauddin Sardar of London's City University, also attacked city leaders at the conference held at the University of Central England's Institute of Art & Design.
"Birmingham City Council brings in tourists to the Balti triangle and shows it as a great thing.
"The city is quite happy to use it as a tourism attraction and an emerging cultural phenomenon to demonstrate the diversity of the city.
"But they are not interested in getting any money in the area so it can develop." Prof Sardar said civic leaders and politicians needed to do more to integrate Muslims rather than putting all the emphasis on their responsibility to do so.
"It is not just the Muslims that need to integrate, the host needs to integrate with them," he said.
"That means providing the opportunities for jobs and education to get out of the ghetto."
Zaman Khan, general secretary of the Ladypool Traders Association, claimed the city council was not putting equal focus on predominantly ethnic wards.
"People feel their area has been neglected," he said.
"There is over-crowding. The roads are crumbling. Just to ask for a concrete bollard took me one year. I asked for a missing street name sign on Ladypool Road to be replaced and it took 13 months."
Mr Khan claimed the authority appeared more interested in big headline-grabbing projects such as the Eastside redevelopment and bringing a super casino to the region.
"They need to get back to basics. Go to other cities around the world and you won't see pot holes in the road and graffiti in the streets.
"They talk about flourishing communities but the communities are not flourishing. We have not seen the benefits of living in these areas."
Birmingham City Council said it was pursuing the Government for £55 million towards a £260m ten-year renewal programme for south east Birmingham.
Referring to the Spark-brook's Balti-belt that was damaged by last year's tornado, council leader Mike Whitby said earlier this year: "Our plan aims to rebuild Spark-brook with a vibrant and sustainable local economy of which local residents and the whole of Birmingham will be proud."