Interculturalism in Cities

Interculturalism in Cities

Concept, Policy and Implementation

Edited by Ricard Zapata-Barrero

Cities are increasingly recognized as new players in diversity studies, and many of them are showing evidence of an intercultural shift. As an emerging concept and policy, interculturalism is becoming the most pragmatic answer to concrete concerns in cities. Within this framework, this book covers two major concerns: how to conceptualize and how to implement intercultural policies. Through the use of theoretical and comparative case studies, the current most prominent contributors in the field examine an area that multicultural policies have missed in the past: interaction between people from different cultures and national backgrounds. By compiling the recent research in Europe and elsewhere this book concludes that interculturalism is becoming both an attractive and efficient new paradigm for diversity management.

Chapter 7: Measuring intercultural policies: the example of the Intercultural Cities Index

Andrea Wagner

Subjects: geography, cities, human geography, politics and public policy, migration, social policy and sociology, comparative social policy, migration, urban and regional studies, cities, migration, urban studies


Globalization is continually challenging the economic and social structures of cities. Cities are increasingly becoming diverse places with people from all over the world. Although immigration policy is often determined and designed at a national level, the impact on migrants and on society at large is felt in local communities. Hence a local approach is important in managing this diversity. In 2008, the Intercultural Cities Programme was launched as a joint project of the Council of Europe and the European Commission ‘to explore the potentials of an intercultural approach for integration of communities with diverse populations’ as stated in the Intercultural Cities Questionnaire. The project stresses the importance of exchange and of building relationships among a city’s different cultural groups. The intercultural city has a diverse population (with a variety of cultural or ethnic backgrounds) and political leaders, as well as most inhabitants, consider diversity an asset. Policies are developed in the city to serve the needs of this diverse population, to promote cultural exchange and to combat discrimination. The intercultural model promotes the idea that different groups can learn from each other, thereby developing new ideas and social practices. Both natives and immigrants can profit from this exchange. The intercultural city model sees diversity as an advantage: ‘The intercultural city does not simply “cope” with diversity but uses it as a source of dynamism, innovation, creativity and growth’ (Council of Europe 2008).

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