A European research team, headed by Utrecht University, has acquired a subsidy of €6.5 million for a 4 year research project on social, economic and ethnic diversity in European cities. The project is called DIVERCITIES. In close collaboration with TU Delft and 12 other European partners, the project participants will work together for four years to find out how large European cities can profit from the diversity of their population. At the end of the project they aim to arrive at policy relevant conclusions and with concrete ideas for projects that foster social cohesion, social mobility and economic developments in a diverse urban society.
Urban diversity can be an asset
Many current urban policies lack a positive view on urban diversity, because they generally focus on the negative aspects of diversity, such as intolerance, racism, discrimination and insecurity. This project starts from a different angle: urban diversity can be an asset.
New instruments for hyper-diverse cities
New policies, instruments and governance arrangements are needed, and sometimes they already exist. The researchers in the project have to find out how these (sometimes top-down) policies, instruments and (often bottom-up) arrangements have become successful and how they can be implemented elsewhere. Increasingly, more diverse, more tailored arrangements are needed, arrangements that have an eye for hyper-diverse cities and communities.
How to turn urban diversity into social and economic advantages
The central hypothesis of this project is that socio-economic, socio-demographic, ethnic and cultural diversity can positively affect social cohesion, economic performance and social mobility of individuals and groups. In this period of long-term economic downturn (or sometimes even crisis) and increasing competition from countries elsewhere in the world (e.g. China, India), it is important to find out how and under which circumstances European's urban diversity can be turned into social and economic advantages. A better social cohesion, higher economic performance and increased chances for social mobility will make European cities more livable and more competitive.
Suggestions for new governance models
As a result of the project, new and innovative policy instruments and governance arrangements will be suggested that (a) recognize urban diversity as a positive aspect; (b) increase interaction and communication between the diversity of groups in urban society; and (c) increase participation to satisfy the needs of the communities.
"Diversity and social cohesion in Leipzig, Germany"
The video reflects residents' perspectives from two neighbourhoods - Grünau and Leipzig Inner East.