Madrid, Spain

Living Together in Madrid

Ayuntamiento de Madrid

September 2, 2015

The city of Madrid updates its official plan for  'Living Together'' by building on the experience of its newest residents and neighbours

In the past 10 years, the immigrant population in Madrid has grown by 10%. Today, more than 17% of the citizens are foreign born, coming from 183 different countries.

This has enriched the city and created some challenges for the municipal leaders who have led the way forward from the start.LivingTogether

In 2005 the city council of Madrid launched its 1st Plan for Social and Intercultural ‘Living Together’ (I Plan de Convivencia), focused on a specific action  program which established services to promote integration and living together for all citizens. Four years later, the council decided to update the Plan to be responsive to the current situation and to build on the experiences they had gained to date.

The 2nd Plan of Social and Intercultural Living Together (2009-2012), bases its action plan on three basic concepts:

  • universality, whereby the city of Madrid promises to provide services equally to all citizens of Madrid, regardless of origin or status;
  • active integration; and
  • intercultural living together.

The Plan focuses especially on the mechanisms and actions required to allow a complete and free incorporation of newcomers into a welcoming society –with the same opportunities, rights and duties as all citizens. Special attention is given to government service areas such as: information and analysis; welcome/settlement; participation; training and job placement orientation; social integration and living together support; public awareness; and anti-discrimination.

The Living Together Plan also seeks to promote increased knowledge and understanding of the culture of origin of the city’s newest neighbours by encouraging the celebration of traditional cultural events and bringing  residents together to share the city’s public spaces by supporting intercultural meetings in sports arenas, schools, parks and city offices.

For the city of Madrid, knowing one another, recognizing and respecting all cultures – la convivencia –  is the basis for living together and sharing a common future. In the words of Concepción Dancausa Treviño, Executive of the Government Department of Family and Social Services, “A diverse society is not only a successful society but also a more open, tolerant and free society.”

Article submitted by: Monique Dissartz, Fundación Bertelesmann. The Fundación Bertelesmann is a partner in Cities of Migration. Condensed and edited for publication.

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