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Intercultural Cities

The Intercultural Cities programme is a joint initiative between the Council of Europe and the European Commission. It seeks to explore the potential of an intercultural approach to integration in communities with culturally diverse populations and offer methodological support to cities willing to implement the intercultural integration model proposed. Successful cities and societies of the future will be intercultural: they will be capable of managing and exploring the potential of their cultural diversity to stimulate creativity and innovation and thus generate economic prosperity and a better quality of life. Diversity can be a resource for the development of a city if the public discourse, the city's institutions and processes, and the behaviour of people, take diversity positively into account.

Project Goal

Issue/ Challenge: As communities across Europe grow increasingly diverse, the way they manage diversity becomes a key challenge for the future. Goals Develop and test a new model for migrant/minority integration based on the principle of interculturality. Prepare a set of tools to help cities review their policies and governance from the point of view of their impact on inter-community relations and their capacity to deal with diverse populations. Strengthen the evidence base through research on the impact of intercultural policies on other policy outcomes for the cities. Constitute a pool of experts capable of disseminating the model to new cities. Disseminate the Intercultural city approach through the creation of national networks Underlying principles 1-The intercultural city has people with different nationality, origin, language or religion/belief. 2- Political leaders and most citizens regard diversity positively, as a resource. 3-The city actively combats discrimination and adapts its governance, institutions and services to the needs of a diverse population. 4-The city has a strategy and tools to deal with diversity and cultural conflict. It encourages greater mixing and interaction between diverse groups in the public space.

How it works

The goal of the Intercultural cities pilot has been to encourage and facilitate policy change. Its methodology has been tailored to achieve this goal. Unlike the majority of city projects which focus either on research and the production of written recommendations/guidelines, on peer review or on good practice exchange, Intercultural cities has implemented a comprehensive methodology including action research, peer review, good practice exchange and local policy change/action/strategy development.


Results The cities participating in the programme are reviewing their governance, policies, discourse and practices from an intercultural point of view. In order to guide cities in the process of understanding the concept of interculturalism, its impact of the policies and actions of the city, and the processes which could lead to the building of a vision for intercultural city development, shared by all main stakeholders, the following methodological tools have been prepared: 1) Intercultural integration model: (…) 2)Policy assesesment grid: ( 3)A media diversity concept: (…) 4)Intercultural cities index (…)


An independent evaluation report for the period 2008-2009 was prepared. Forthcoming overall evaluation foreseen for 2012. At the city level, the review has taken the form of narrative reports and city profiles – a form which is rich in content and detail. However, it is relatively weak as a tool to monitor and communicate progress. The new intercultural city index has been designed as a new benchmarking tool for the cities taking part in the pilot phase of the programme as well as future participants.

Who benefits

Participating cities and eventually all cities interested and able to apply the methodology

Funding and resources

The intercultural cities is a jointly financed programme between the Council of Europe and European commission

About this good practice


Posted by
Thomas Pavan-Woolfe

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