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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Lisbon’s ethnic economy

Major study of minority ethnic business and implementation of recommendations
2016
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The contribution of immigrants to the dynamics of Lisbon economy is significant, not only in the city centre and in inner city but also in several residential areas scattered throughout Lisbon. The opening of a diverse set of business creates new jobs, promotes interculturality, as well as giving Lisbon a cosmopolitan dynamic. These were the findings of a study by the city council.

The city of Lisbon carried out the study on diversity ito the economy and local integration in 2014. The study aims to support the development of immigrant entrepreneurialism in Lisbon, and the main objectives were the following:

  • provide some basic socio‐economic features about the foreign population of the city,
  • present a basic and specific picture of immigrant entrepreneurial activities, mostly of micro and small size.

Based in the data gathered through a series of in‐depth interviews applied to relevant stakeholders (immigrant associations, leaders of business organizations and some leaders of sectors related to municipal economic activities) in addition to 62 questionnaires applied face‐to‐face to immigrant entrepreneurs established in the city of Lisbon.

According to the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF), in 2014 50,047 citizens with foreign nationality lived in the municipality of Lisbon–, mostly coming from non‐EU countries. The central area of Lisbon emerged as a social gateway to the city being widely recognized and valued by the presence of ethnic and cultural diversity.

Immigrant entrepreneurship in Lisbon has been quite robust and stronger than in the rest of the country. Becoming an entrepreneur seems to be:

  • a strategy to face unemployment or a choice to increase revenue; and
  • part of a planned path, sometimes the main reason why they have emigrated from their native country.

Having into taken into consideration the characteristics and risk factors that have been identified, a few recommendations are now being considered by the city:

  1. The creation of a system to gather and treat data related to economic activities in Lisbon.
  2. To support the view of immigrant entrepreneurs, that data should include information about the “geographical origin of the owners”.
  3. A monitoring system of Lisbon economic activity that could use the aforementioned databases should be set into place;
  4. In order to overcome language barriers, the legal documents regarding the opening and management of businesses should be bilingual (Portuguese and English).
  5. It should be discussed how it may be possible to introduce some limited positive discriminatory measures (considering that immigrants are a vulnerable group) in the processes of specific public contracting of services (e.g. food supply, particularly if non‐Portuguese products and dishes are concerned), namely the ones performed by the City Council. Note that these measures are circumstantial and transitory and should be removed when the specific disadvantages of immigrants vanish.
  6. The ethnic dimension should be more widely employed in the promotion of city, in particular regarding the economic valorisation of diversity (for instance using it on the Lisbon Shopping Destination platform or as the basis for the creation of historical ethnic routes in the city).
  7. Finally, it would be useful to update the Lisbon Intercultural Guide and to think in a kind of Lisbon ethnic food festival.

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