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Languages in Urban Communities - Integration and Diversity for Europe
Start date: 01 Dec 2011,

We see the multilingual City as a driver of the future and a major resource for Europe. Our aim therefore is to work together to develop policy ideas about how to manage these new and more complex citizen communities. In particular we want to understand and develop guidelines and mutual support on some key questions: • “Good practice” in language learning for immigrants• How cities can support social inclusion through linguistic support in social services, health and civil society • How cities provide for communication and cultural exchange with “neighbouring languages”? • How cities promote intercultural dialogue and understanding by celebrating community cultures in common spaces? • The particular challenges of new mobility for cities which have traditionally been places of emigration Outcomes will include: • Research – an overview of our current knowledge • Implementation of surveys with stakeholders in cities across Europe • Development of toolkits - guidelines on good practice and discussion with intermediaries/professionals promoted through 5 international workshops. • Three international seminars on The Multilingual City (Utrecht, Varna, Madrid) • Dissemination of ideas through a website and e bulletins; press information, leaflets and guidelines • A MAJOR INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE AT London School of Economics • A major publication. On the basis of such a comprehensive exchange and analysis of how communication occurs in multilingual/multicultural settings across the EU and beyond we aim to support institutions (schools, hospitals, and national economies) to make better productive use of diversity as an economic resource and also to shore up social cohesion by fostering better communication and mutual understanding. We aim to show in concrete terms that what is often described as a problem is in fact an asset to be celebrated, not least for its cultural diversity and richness, and so help develop a vision of the city of the future.
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