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Cities of Migration

Thursday, February 12, 2015

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In this issue:
Living Together in Difficult Times
Cartoons to Live For
Fighting Extremism: Hayat Means Life
Duisburg: The Miracle of Marxloh
Saying No to Racism and Discrimination
Family Connections
Bristol: Future-Proofing Cities for Social Inclusion
Arrival City: Seeding Inclusion in the Urban Village
Pico Iyer: The Foreign Spell
Correcting a Diversity Gap
Good Ideas in the News

Living Together in Difficult Times

Cities of migration are places of inclusion and exclusion. The chilling events of the new year, from Charlie Hebdo to Pegida, remind us that discrimination and prejudice on all sides remain important challenges to face.

Research shows that people living in diverse neighbourhoods are more tolerant and open to diversity. However, we also know that inequality and poverty of opportunity can lead to alienation and disengagement whatever your background. Findings from Open Society Foundations’ seminal work on marginalized white working class communities resonate with Rokhaya Diallo's balanced analysis of rhe politics of exclusion and its impact on extremism. Whether it’s white flight to extemism (Pegida) or the radicalism of the banlieue (Charlie Hebdo), there are no simple explanations for these abject failures. 

As Doug Saunders notes in Arrival City, successful cities are always making room for “the other”. Inclusion and a sense of belonging are key to immigrant success and critical underpinnings of the social and economic resilience that every great city needs to realize the potential of every citizen, including immigrants, and the promise of shared prosperity for all.

In recognition of these challenges, and in the spirit of fostering a greater sense of inclusion and belonging, this edition of our newsletter is dedicated to “Living Together.”



Where do I fit in? What does it mean to “belong”? No other demographic group feels more marginalized or left out than youth and -as recent events have shown- few are so susceptible to opting out.  Growing up on the margins or between two cultures sharpens questions like these and makes what youth have to say about identity, belonging and inclusion all the more important. 

- London, Paris: Narratives of Belonging
- Blackburn with Darwen: Meet Your Neighbours
- Ghent: Youth Ambassadors
- Erfurt: Strangers Become Friends


Cartoons to Live For

The criminal events of the Charlie Hebdo affair raise many issues – the force of insult vs freedom of expression, criminality vs extremism, urban vs cultural alienation and, not least of these, the apparent power of satirical cartoons. Yet cartoons, along with graphic novels and our favourite Youtube clips, can also offer fresh and effective ways to share stories and influence public imagination.

- Fighting Fiction with Facts: the Barcelona Anti-Rumour Campaign
- Meet the Somalis: Their Stories, in Words and Illustrations (At Home in Europe Project)


Fighting Extremism: Hayat Means Life

Why do extremist ideologies hold such appeal? What supports can bring a person back? The Berlin-based Hayat program is gaining international recognition for its focus on families as a way out of radicalism and extremist ideologies.

- Berlin: Hayat Means Life
- Kungalv: The Tolerance Project


Duisburg: The Miracle of Marxloh

The first mosque in Duisburg was housed adjacent to a canteen used by Turkish gastarbeiten employed at the local colliery. For the community that grew up here, the mosque would become not only a spiritual and cultural home but also an open door for the next generation. Was it the solidarity of work, or the ‘fraternité' of breaking bread? Whatever the magic ingredient, today the new Duisburg mosque stands out as a shining example of how an open, collaborative planning approach succeeds, bringing diverse communities together, dispelling myths about the ‘other’ and building trust and confidence in a shared future.

>> Read more


Saying No to Racism and Discrimination

The sting of personal insult casts a long shadow and racial slurs leave deep wounds. Sometimes an institutional response is needed to help check individual expressions of hatred or ignorance. When Dublin Bus was investigating an increasing number of racial incidents on its city routes, they discovered that drivers and inspectors were reporting lack of knowledge on how to deal with these situations. Suddenly, the issues were not only about racism, but about the management of a diverse workforce and a chance to be a leader and role model in the fight against racism.

- Dublin: Transport Links, Racism Divides
- Botkyrka: The Dilemma Workshop
- Edmonton: Racism Free Edmonton


Family Connections

Family, friends, neighbours – this is the glue that holds us together. Yet for many immigrant families, where the geography of home is fluent, the joys of reunification are complicated by many factors, including years of separation. BCN’s Families in Barcelona program helps families deal with these challenges, both pre- and post-arrival, tailoring practical solutions to ensure “a good welcome in the community” for all. By being proactive in the early stages, it lays the foundations for future belonging, not just in a family but in a community.

-Families in Barcelona program
-Interview with Ramon Sanahuja i Vélez, Director de Serveis d'Immigració, Barcelona


Bristol: Future-Proofing Cities for Social Inclusion

How are cities building social and economic inclusion into the formula for urban resilience? How can city planners address inequalities that can seed discontent and alienation for generations to come?  In the UK city of Bristol, 'future-proofing' the city means developing strategies to mitigate the risk and cost of social exclusion.  Recognized for its leadership in “fostering a resilience mindset that will be critical to proactively managing the inevitable challenges, shocks and stresses all cities will face,” Bristol is one of  the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities. 

- Read the Good Idea
- Join the webinar on February 17: Migration and  the Resilient City


Arrival City: Seeding Inclusion in the Urban Village

A community garden in Toronto, an urban farm in Tower Hamlets. Grass-roots initiatives like these use the power of sharing to foster a sense of belonging and community in in the deeply urban village. In the Arrival City, these spaces also give immigrant populations a role in developing community assets and a stake in shaping the future of their community.

>> Read the Arrival City blog post


Pico Iyer: The Foreign Spell

"To be a foreigner is to be perpetually detached, but it is also to be continually surprised.” Pico Iyer, acclaimed essayist and travel writer, takes on the theme of “the other” in Lapham’s Quarterly special issue on Foreigners (winter 2015).

>> Read more


Correcting a Diversity Gap

On February 24, 2015, the award-winning DiverseCity OnBoard program will launch nationally, replicating the Toronto model in cities across Canada. "DiverseCity OnBoard is a nimble solution to bridge the diversity gap in governance," noted Ratna Omidvar, Global Diversity Exchange. 

>> Read more


Good Ideas in the News

The Myth of Tolerance: A interview with Ricard Zapata-Barrero, about tolerance and diversity discourses in 16 Europe countries and the unintended institutionalization of discrimination. 

Terrorism Doesn’t Spring from a Wider ‘Muslim Rage’: Excerpt from Doug Saunders' Myth of the Muslim Tide on the question of anger in Muslim-immigrant neighbourhoods.

Lights Out In Cologne: Germans take to the streets to protest Pegida's anti-islamization campaign. 

A Fragile Rebound for Europe: a new Pew Rresearch Centre report includes a chapter on attitudes to migrants in Europe (Ch. 3) - "pretty shocking" was the twitter verdict. 

Sozialstaat profitiert von Zuwanderung. A new study by by the Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW) on behalf of Bertelsmann Stiftung shows Germany's 6.6 million immigrants contributed 22 billion euros to the country's social economy in 2012.

The Ethics of Immigration: An interview with Joseph Carens on his new book (Oxford UP, 2014): "We ought to think about what's right and wrong, and not just about what's efficient or good for some segment of the population."

After Paris: Muslim man who saved lives at Paris grocery granted French citizenship.

Meet the Muslim superhero fighting bigotry on San Francisco buses. The Guardian (Feb 1, 2015)

‘I am an immigrant’  The Movement Against Xenophobia (MAX) has launched a poster campaign in response to increased anti-immigration rhetoric occurring in politics and "the need to shed positive light on immigrants and the social, economic and cultural prosperity they bring to the nation."

The City Builder Book Club's online reading of Doug Saunders' Arrival City took off last month with international readings, City Sound Walks, webinars and commentary until end of March. Join a global conversation on urban migration and how its shaping our world.


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Good Ideas Index

Search Good Ideas by themes in English, French, German, Spanish


Upcoming Webinar

February 17, 2015

Migration and the Resilient City: Bristol

How do resilient cities address demographic change and the challenge of deepening social and economic inequality?

Join us for a Big Idea webinar to learn how Bristol is managing these complex community challenges and building its capacity to leverage diversity and the economic and social innovations that drive urban prosperity.

More info


Share Your Story!

At Cities of Migration, our Good Ideas about successful integration practice are travelling from city to city.

Do you have a Cities of Migration story to share? Contact us!


Contact Cities of Migration

Global Diversity Exchange (GDX)
Ratna Omidvar, Executive Director
Kim Turner, Project Leader
Evelyn Siu, Project Coordinator




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Cities of Migration
The Global Diversity Exchange, Ted Rogers School of Management | Ryerson
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