Sustainable Diverse Cities: Innovation in Integration
How can cities develop their capacity to deal with increased immigration and living with difference? Sustainable diverse cities: Innovation in integration has explored new initiatives in integration. The research project has in different ways increased the cities' of Bodø and Tromsø capacity to deal with challenges, but also to take advantage of new social and economic opportunities resulting from increased diversity. Cities in general are experiencing new and more multi-ethnic populations and cultural diversity. Hence, sustainable cities require capability to deal with such increased in-migration and diversity. In this project, researchers, public and private organizations and companies have co-produced new applicable knowledge to help live with differences, enhance integrative interaction and develop just cities - granting diverse populations rights to use physical spaces, participate in urban life, and to shape the city as equals.
The increase of migrants in the wake of the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean after 2015 spurred a wide variety of new activities. New pop-up, low threshold activities and thoroughly planned and organized integration initiatives became sources for new knowledge on how to live with differences. We have studied a wide range of such innovations in the cultural sector together with partners and have sharer, developed, tested and co-produced knowledge in an interdisciplinary network, in the small-medium sized cities of Bodø and Tromsø in Norway and Halsnæs in Denmark.
The project has asked how migrants use urban space for cross-cultural interaction and under what conditions integration initiatives encourage cross-cultural interactions. We acknowledge that encounters may lead to tensions and conflict, and have studied the conditions for positive integrative interaction. In some cases we found that integrative interaction also requires emphasis on how gender, age, educational level, and class interact with ethnicity. We have analyzed how interactions transfer into participation and the development of just cities. We have also studied the challenges and solutions to planning for integration in the context of changing organizational patterns of voluntary organizations.
The project was initially a cooperation between UIT The Arctic University of Norway, Northern Research Institute, Hær e æ/Snakk for deg sjøl AS, PurpleDinner, Norwegian People Aid Sør-Tromsøya, Bodø Red Cross, Kirkens Bymisjon Bodø: Batteriet, HATS, Roskilde Universitets Center, Gæstfrie Halsnæs, Tromsø Municipality, Bodø Municipality, ArtZone, NIBIO, Jussi Koitela, University of Cambridge and SPINX Organization. Some of these became less important in the project and several organizations have become vital members of our network such as Tromsø Idrettsråd, Medkvinner, Lørdag kl to, Perspektivet Museum, Tromsø Røde Kors, Troms and Finnmark County administration.
Activities and results 2021-2022
During 2021 and 2022 we have continued to present the project and results at several physical and digital events. This has been communicated and shared at Facebook and the project homepage. This shows that even though the possibilities for physical meetings have been restricted also in this last year, the project has continued to encourage meetings and meeting places, and examined how these works and may contribute to just cities. The project web page is up-to date and offers resources, presents cases, videos, feature articles, on activities and results. This webpage also gives and overview of activities and out-reach: https://www.cit-egration.no/aktiviteter . Fieldwork was restricted also during the last year, but even when the project period has ended, we continue to follow some activities. The researchers and partners have also continued to present, co-write and publish from the project. Not least, we worked hard with a special issue in Nordic Journal of Migration Research, lauched in the fall of 2021, and our own anthology in Norwegian: Retten til byen. Kraften I krysskulturelle møter, both in printed paper version and open access book, which aims at a broad public readership. This book was ready for the closing meeting in May 2022. The closing seminar was planned as a range of test and try-outs of activities, arenas, new ways of working creating meeting places. The conference was held as a panel debate, part of Frivillighetens år in Tromsø, Forum teater, Frokostsalon (Breaktfast saloon), Silent Sofa, Eritrean Coffee Sermony mm. It turned out to be a great diversity festival for the participants and provided an important development and learning arena.
Prosjektet har hatt stor betydning for mange deltagere og omgivelser i form av økt bevissthet om mangfold, tilgang på et repertoar av arbeidsmåter og tilnærminger, vitenskapelig og praktisk formidlet kunnskap, endringer i kompetanse, adferd, praksis og politikk. Mange aktører har utvidet og fått mer mangfoldige nettverk, med ressurspersoner som gjør at de kan involvere breiere og jobbe på nye måter. Mange har utviklet sin kunnskap og deltar og medvirker i dag på nye måter. Dette inngår i langsiktige endringer på samfunnsnivå. Det har blitt opprettet helt nye aktiviteter og tiltak som prosjektet har vært sterkt delaktig i, f.eks Medkvinner, Lørdag kl 2, Eritreisk kaffesermoni, Fortellerworkshop, Broderiverksted, Åpen teatertrening. Flere av disse har inspirert til oppstart flere andre steder. Tilnærminger, tiltak, aktiviteter og arbeidsmåter har også blitt utviklet og endret. Vi har bidratt til økt samarbeid mellom frivillige organisasjoner, mellom slike, andre aktører og kommuner og fylkeskommuner. Forskningsresultatene brukes.
Cit-egration`s main objective is to produce new applicable knowledge on innovative multicultural integration activities that help us to live with difference, enhance integrative interaction and develop just cities - granting diverse populations rights to physical spaces, participate in urban life, and shape the city as equals. The study assesses new approaches to integration in terms of understanding the complex dynamics of diverse integration initiatives; how they work, and what kinds of interactions they may provide with regard to people in different socio-economic and juridical situations. This implies specifying the social, spatial (including physical and climatic), cultural and organisational conditions under which different initiatives can add to processes of integration and development of just cities. To better understand and plan for integration in urban spaces, we ask: 1) How do migrants use urban space for cross-cultural interaction? 2) Under what conditions do integration initiatives encourage cross-cultural interactions? 3) How do encounters and interactions transfer into participation and development of cities? 4) What are challenges and solutions to planning for integration in the context of changing organizational patterns of voluntary organizations? The project analyses and develops innovations in integration from two key northern cities with significant immigrant populations: Bodø and Tromsø. The research questions will be answered in close cooperation with actors involved in integration initiatives, including voluntary organisations, local government, private persons, and entrepreneurial businesses. Together we will study and analyse, test and develop innovations in integration, and aims to generate knowledge and solutions that support social, economic and environmental responsibility. A wide range of new tools and methods to be developed in the project, based on skills and competence represented by the ?in-house? artists and cultural workers.