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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Reducing barriers to naturalisation through information campaigns

2021 (ongoing since 2017)
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The Zurich City Council is concerned that as many Zurich residents as possible should be able to participate in the direct democratic process. The more people participate, the more alive democracy is. It is therefore important and desirable for foreigners to naturalise if they meet the requirements.

Around 434,000 people live in the city of Zurich (2019). 32.2 % (139 803 people) of Zurich residents are foreigners. In May 2017, the City of Zurich sent letters to the nearly 40‘000 foreigners in Zurich who met the residency requirement informing them about the possibilities for naturalization. The City launched the information campaign in anticipation of a change in the naturalization law that came into effect on January 1, 2018. The campaign aimed to draw immigrants’ attention to the new naturalization rules and to motivate them to apply for citizenship. Following this campaign, naturalization application rates in the City of Zurich went up significantly, a change directly attributable to the effects of the information letters. The action was implemented in the frame of the city’s integration strategy.

In October 2019 and May 2020, another 11,000 people who had met the residency requirement in the meantime were informed in a second wave. As with the first initial initiative of 2017, the Immigration Policy Lab (IPL) examined the impact in detail. The study shows that active information can reduce naturalisation hurdles and thus increase the number of naturalisation applications (by around 40%). Other effects are that informed candidates have a better knowledge about the process, are encouraged to apply for naturalisation and feel welcomed. Furthermore, the information reduces the complexity of the process. The findings show how naturalization barriers, such as a lack of information and public encouragement, can be efficiently and effectively lowered.

Naturalisation strengthens political participation and promotes economic integration. As studies show, naturalisation has a positive effect on the economic participation of naturalised persons.

This action has been evaluated by the Stanford and Zurich based Immigration Policy Lab (IPL). Some case studies and research support it, namely:


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