Intercultural cities: governance and policies for diverse communities
Joint action of the Council of Europe and the European Commission
The Intercultural cities programme emerged from the Council of Europe's significant experience of projects that focus on issues concerned with the management of diversity. Considerable reflection has been undertaken in relation to the principles and practices of cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue.
Intercultural cities is a capacity-building and policy development field programme which has been implemented by the Council of Europe in partnership with the European Commission. It runs complementary to many other current projects and events (conferences, research, exchanges, and campaigns). The programme's long-term, comprehensive approach will contribute to the sustainability of the political impetus of one of the Council of Europe's declared priorities concerning the practice of diversity in today's world.
The programme's starting point is the belief that as communities across Europe grow increasingly diverse, their governance models, their public and media discourse, the management of their institutions and their policies determine whether this diversity becomes an asset or a threat. 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, community cohesion and better quality of life.
The Intercultural cities programme studies successful experiences in a range of cities in Europe (and beyond) and harness this experience to encourage the development of structures, policies and practice in other cities through good practice exchange and city-to-city mentoring. In addition to the direct exchange, good practice is made publicly available by means various events as well as web- and print-based publications.
In this context, the ICC programme administration and the Compendium editors decided that the results of the Intercultural Cities Index which was developed with the expert support of BAK Basel Economics should receive a place on the Compendium website. This index - with a focus on the intercultural integration of migrants and minorities - attempts to assess and compare the current status and performance of 16 cities (with more to come in the near future). However, it does not pretend to be a scientific tool in the strict sense or to suggest clear-cut relationships between polical intentions or actions and concrete results in the everyday life of these cities. Since the ICC programme intends to highlight a general set of principles and a new way of thinking, the ICC Index aims to start needed debates by highlighting a few facts and processes which suggest the level of interculturality of a city. Therefore, this index should not be mistaken as a crude "ranking" of cities; it should rather be seen - also by users from cities that are not yet participating in the programme! - as a spur towards greater self-reflection that could give rise to further improvements.
An intercultural city has people with different nationality, origin, language or religion / beliefs. Political leaders and most citizens regard diversity positively, as a resource.
The city actively combats discrimination and adapts its governance, institutions and services to the needs of a diverse population.
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 spaces.
Compare different cities and indicators at ICC Charts
For more information on individual city results see City Profiles
How intercultural are cities in Europe and worldwide? The Intercultural Cities Index provides first answers!