Fostering an Inclusive Identity Where It Matters Most: At the Local Level (Transatlantic Council Statement)
In the face of transformative demographic changes and migration flows, cities must constantly redefine their own identities. Although cities have always proved to be adept at absorbing new members while becoming more vibrant in the process, recent unprecedented shifts in population combined with fiscal constraints are creating tension among various groups of new and old residents. As a result, cities are focused on strengthening the civic glue that holds them together now more than ever.
In April 2014, MPI's Transatlantic Council on Migration convened an extraordinary meeting with city-level officials from Rotterdam to discuss the potential that "urban citizenship" offers for building new identities at the local level. Participants focused on the identity crisis that many cities are facing and exchanged strategies to unite cities, expand services for diverse groups, and foster community cohesion.
The Council identified five drivers behind the new urban reality: the changing face of urban populations; harsh economic landscapes; rapid, concentrated social change; a difficult political climate; and the shift to a new kind of integration policy. Acknowledging that city identity is more fluid and thus more accessible than national identity, the Council settled on a number of core principles to help cities take advantage of this potential and foster the creation of a new "we."
II. Toward Greater Cohesion and Economic Growth
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