The Intercultural city aims at building its policies and identity on the explicit acknowledgement that diversity can be a resource for the development of the society.

The first step is the adoption (and implementation) of strategies that facilitate positive intercultural encounters and exchanges, and promote equal and active participation of residents and communities in the development of the city, thus responding to the needs of a diverse population. The Intercultural integration policy model is based on extensive research evidence, on a range of international legal instruments, and on the collective input of the cities member of the Intercultural Cities programme that share their good practice examples on how to better manage diversity, address possible conflicts, and benefit from the diversity advantage.

This section offers examples of intercultural approaches that facilitate the development and implementation of intercultural strategies.

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To get acquainted with cities’ good practices related to the management of the Covid-19 pandemic, please visit Intercultural Cities: COVID-19 Special page.

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A policy to increase the diversity in neighbourhood

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Most districts in Zurich are ethnically and culturally diverse. The city has a policy to increase the diversity of residents in the neighbourhoods and avoid ethnic concentration. The City Council housing programme aims, among other things, at a good social mixing within the City of Zurich.

The majority of the city population lives in rented apartments. 25 % of these apartments are owned by the City of Zurich or by non-commercial housing associations. The city as well as the housing associations have adopted a rent policy, which takes into account the cultural mixing within the neighbourhood. Moreover, the City of Zurich's policy on socially acceptable inner development looks at future building sites and seeks to create societal cohesion and cultural mixing.

The city encourages actions where residents of one neighbourhood meet and interact with residents with different migrant/minority backgrounds from other neighbourhoods. Generally, the Integration Policy, the housing programme housing, and the social culture strategy (Soziokultur) include useful guidelines. More specifically, projects that promote an improved cohabitation of ‘locals’ and ‘foreigners’, can sometimes be financed by the City of Zurich. Three different funds are available:

• Credit for integration projects (Integrationskredit): 200,000 CHF available per year. Yearly, around 30-40 projects that are implemented mainly on a voluntary basis are financially supported.

• Credit for exchange and cohabitation (Kredit Austausch und Zusammenleben): 250,000 CHF available per year. Yearly, around 3-6 projects are financially supported. From 2019 onwards, the City of Zurich is financing intercultural programme weeks (Interkulturelle Programmwochen), which will take place every two years and seek to make lived diversity in the city visible.

The Zurich community centres (Gemeinschaftszentren) were founded in 2010 and aim to promote community development as well as the implementation of equal opportunities and participation of all resident groups. Among other things, community centres are implementing own programmes on education, integration, and cultural mediation.


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