POINT (9.993682 53.551085)

    The Intercultural cities programme (ICC) supports cities in reviewing their policies through an intercultural lens and developing comprehensive intercultural strategies to help them manage diversity positively and realise the diversity advantage.

    Amadora launches a Guide on the welcoming of migrants


    First Transnational workshop and Kick Off meeting
    Second Transnational Workshop
    Fourth Transnational Workshop
    Third Transnational Workshop
    First online seminar
    Second Online Seminar
    Third Online Seminar
    Final event

    Municipality of Athienou
    2, Archbishop Makarios III Ave.
    7600 Athienou Cyprus


    Municipality of Santiago de Compostela


    Municipality of Udine (Italy)


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    Av. Movimento das Forças Armadas

    2700-595 Amadora



    +351 21 436 9000

    Ext. 1801


    The Rumourless Cities transfer network is focused on the transfer of good practice established by the municipality of Amadora which addresses a need across all partners, namely how to counter growing negative attitudes towards a cross section of groups in society, which includes long established migrants (Third country nationals), Roma, recently arrived refugees, LGBTI people, and general homophobic stereotyping. This is an issue that is recognized at an EU level. The EU Fundamental Rights Agency in its 2018 report highlights how discrimination is still widespread within the EU . The report highlights that discrimination on the grounds of ethnic origin continues to be regarded as the most widespread form of discrimination in the EU (64%), followed by discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation (58%), gender identity (56%), religion or belief (50%), disability (50%), age (being over 55 years old, 42%) and gender (37%).

    Prevent discrimination, strengthen cohesion
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  • The Altona Declaration: Making Inclusion and Tolerance Loud and Clear


    Co-creating a commitment to inclusion and tolerance

    Adelina Michalk
    Finance Manager
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    1 845 000

    Solutions offered by the good practice

    Hamburg consists of seven districts and the district of Hamburg-Altona is the westernmost urban borough of Hamburg with a population of 270, 263 (Dec. 2016) with an area of 77.4 km2. The District of Altona is therefore part of the greater City of Hamburg, a major trading crossroads on the North- as well as Baltic Sea with both a long history of immigration and a growing, diverse population. Around 14% of the city’s residents are from first or second generation immigrant backgrounds, a statistic of foreign population growing in the district of Altona.


    Between 2015-16, 60,000 refugees arrived in the city requiring the provision of extra accommodation and services and Hamburg employed some innovative processes to do this such the “Work and Integration Centre for Refugees – WIR-Centre” the Finding Places scheme- URBACT recognised Good Practice. A large proportion of refugees have been accommodated in Hamburg-Altona.


    However, in recent years, the city has witnessed a disturbing rise in xenophobic populism and hate speech in both traditional and social media. Preoccupied for the phenomena, and for the attack of public opinion towards a pro-refugees agenda of the city of Hambourg,  the District of Altona in 2018 analysed  the situation in paper on integration and social inclusion. This paper led to a revision and updating of the local strategy from integration of minority groups (Integrationskonzept), towards comprehensive policies of inclusion and diversity targeting the whole population. While politicians were generally committed to this approach, they soon perceived the limits of issuing a top-down agenda in favour of tolerance and diversity., which would have been perceived by locals as imposed.


    The solution evolved by joining the URBACT Transfer Network of Rumorless cities towards co-designing with inhabitants a formal declaration of inclusion and a campaign in public space about the principles exposed in the declaration.     At first, public events and workshops have been organised across the district and via digital communications, inviting residents from different backgrounds to share their opinions on concepts such as social cohesion, community, democracy and equality and what sort of society they want to live in.


    In the second phase, the content collected during phase one was collated and edited into seventeen statements. These were promoted at summer festivals across the district and people were encouraged to vote, to which 1 000 people responded. Subsequently, the declaration was launched at a press conference by the city mayor and by Marcell Jansen a famous local sportsperson. This was closely followed by a public democracy conference with the goal of supporting citizens to make the declaration their own and to develop ideas for spreading it’s messages and values. The declaration turned then into a campaign with printed and digital media in public spaces. Unfortunately, Covid-19 was tough for a campaign so strongly reliant on face-to-face activities. The work with schools was stopped, and Altona’s biggest cultural festival — potentially a powerful catalyst for promotion — was cancelled. This forced a creative rethink and a shift towards digital communications, including a campaign kit for civil society organisations.


    Thankfully, the Mayor of Altona was personally committed, speaking at the launch event and referring back to the declaration in a public statement condemning discrimination after hate mail was sent to the Altona mosque.

    Sustainable and integrated urban approach

    Altona practice focuses on integrating the good practice of Rumourless cities across departments in the district offices and involving local population in co-designing the antidiscrimination campaigns that involves not only minority groups but the whole population. Altona is committed to exploring further ways to communicate and embed the declaration in the life and institutions of this district of Hamburg. For example, politicians have agreed to display a plaque of the declaration prominently on the town hall. A crucial target group is now schools and young people who will be invited to visit and discuss the values and ideas set out in the declaration.

    Participatory approach

    In Altona, a group of stakeholders was already co-developing an anti-discrimination strategy, including a set of principles to be known as the ‘Altona Declaration’. Joining URBACT RUMOURLESS CITIES Network was a chance to add inspiration and momentum to this campaign, and transform the initial idea of a top down anti-discrimination campaigning into a co-designed strategy (see Solution section). The existing stakeholder group in Altona formed an expanded URBACT Local Group (ULG), bringing political leaders and residents.

    What difference has it made

    The collaboration among inhabitants and city offices to co-create the Altona Declaration resulted in  a series of 17 anti- discrimination statements posted online and promoted at events. 1000 people voted, selecting the top seven statements that formed the body of the declaration now part of a larger campaign involving public spaces in the district. The local partners and especially the ULG-members used the new kit, eg the flyers and posters, to disseminate the seven thesis of the Altona Declaration.


    The change of attitudes is not easy to measure, especially not with the resources of the project. But one can be hopeful that some, more doubtful persons, started to reflect their personal points of view on diversity.


    ”In concrete terms, we were able to benefit from the exchange with the international partner cities. We learned how great the influence of positive rather than negative framing can be in conveying messages”. Adelina Michalk Department of Social Services, Municipality of Hamburg-Altona.

    Transferring the practice

    Hamburg/Altona found the regular peer review opportunities during transnational meetings of the Transfer network Rumorless cities particularly useful for taking on board practical tips and ideas for anti-rumour strategies. This included a ‘Gallery Walk’, where partner cities used visual images to capture their progress and exchange learning.


    One notably valuable technique transferred from the city of Amadora, lead partner of the Transfer network, was the active involvement of ‘ambassadors’ to convey key messages to sections within the community. These elected officials, civil servants, and influential citizens assumed a pivotal role as the local campaign was rolled out.

    Is a transfer practice
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  • Nine ways cities can become more just and inclusive

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    These local actions for a fairer society are inspiring cities across the EU. Could they work in your city too?

    Disadvantaged neighbourhoods

    The New Leipzig Charter highlights three forms of the transformative city which can be harnessed in Europe to enhance people’s quality of life: the Just City, the Green City and the Productive City.

    URBACT’s latest publication is packed with sustainable solutions to address these three dimensions – all tried, tested and transferred between EU cities, with adaptations for each local context.

    To give a taste of the full stories in ‘Good practice transfer: Why not in my City?’, here are nine examples of local actions for Just Cities. We hope towns and cities of all sizes will be inspired to ‘Understand, Adapt and Re-use’ these ideas for working with communities to fight exclusion and help drive a just transition to a green economy.

    1. Boost social inclusion through music

    One way Brno (CZ) is tackling social exclusion in disadvantaged neighbourhoods and encouraging children to stay in school, is a music programme inspired by the innovative Municipal Music School and Arts Centre in L'Hospitalet de Llobregat (ES). Brno is one of six EU cities in the ONSTAGE network, which have adopted l’Hospitalet’s inclusive approach – with groups including a symphonic orchestra, big bands, pop-rock, and jazz groups. Working with teachers and parents, Brno launched its own group music activities in deprived areas, bringing people together, facilitating cultural exchanges, and even improving school results in maths and other subjects.

    2. Encourage volunteering

    Pregrada (HR) has found a way to awaken its volunteering potential and encourage more young people to get involved in helping others. Forming a diverse local group to connect relevant associations, council staff, and citizens of all ages, they introduced a new governance structure around volunteering, part of a participatory model for solving local social problems. The town, which already had many active volunteers, and close links between relevant boards and the council, based its new framework on the well-established Municipal Council of Volunteering in Athienou (CY) while also exchanging with six other EU cities in the Volunteering Cities network.

    3. Commit to inclusion and tolerance

    Hamburg’s Altona district (DE) has launched an anti-discrimination strategy, with a set of principles known as the ‘Altona Declaration’, co-developed by political leaders and residents: “We in Altona,… stand for a free and democratic society; like to encounter new people; represent diversity and engage against discrimination; encounter every person with respect and tolerance; believe in the equality of all people; recognise the chances that come with diversity and encounter every person openly and without prejudices.”

    Inspired by Amadora’s (PT) ‘Don’t feed the rumour’ initiative, through the RUMOURLESS CITIES network, Altona appointed local campaign ambassadors, and asked residents about community, democracy and equality – confirming a common desire to live in a society where people take care of each other.

    4. Celebrate local heritage through storytelling

    A movement to celebrate the built environment, promote active citizenship and fight urban isolation is growing up around a former radio station in a 1950s suburb of Pori (FI). Working with the city’s cultural department, an arts collective based on the site formed a local group and asked neighbours and radio enthusiasts to share their stories, in person and online, sparking new events, interest in local heritage, and the re-use of abandoned space in the old radio station. Pori based the initiative on good practice from Budapest’s annual ‘Weekend of Open Houses’, thanks to the Come in! network.

    5. Co-manage city assets

    The Belgian city of Ghent has a long history of policy participation, with council-appointed ‘neighbourhood managers’ supporting a variety of citizens’ initiatives. The Civic eState network helped Ghent learn from urban commons legislation in cities like Naples, Barcelona, Amsterdam and Gdansk, further boosting cooperation with residents – and bringing the city’s policy participation, real estate, and legal services to work together. Ghent applied these learnings in the re-use of the decommissioned Saint Jozef Church. Commoners, citizens, and nearby organisations formed a local group to jointly assign a local coordinator to ensure the building’s management and activities take into account the needs of its diverse neighbourhood.

    6. Empower neighbourhood partnerships

    A new initiative in the French metropole of Lille identifies local associations and their potential synergies in deprived neighbourhoods, in order to empower communities to propose and build their own joint social projects – such as linking up a retirement home with a neighbouring school. The idea is to support these projects on the road to self-sufficiency. Lille based their initiative on learnings from Lisbon’s (PT) Local Development Strategy for Priority Intervention areas, thanks to the Com.Unity.Lab network. Lisbon’s scheme tackles urban poverty and empowers communities by providing micro-grants to thousands of local projects, many of which become autonomous and create permanent jobs.

    7. Engage with citizens through play and games

    Cork (IE), is taking a ‘playful’ approach to improving the city for all, steered by a local group ‘Let’s Play Cork’ which includes the City Council, public bodies and associations across health, education, culture and sports. Applying good practice from Udine (IT) and other cities in the Playful Paradigm network, Cork’s actions so far include: pop-up play areas in the city centre, parks and libraries; play-based resources for festivals; toy-lending in libraries; and providing ‘street-play packs’ for neighbourhood events. This approach has been a catalyst for local groups and residents to start tackling societal challenges together, such as co-developing playful ideas for public spaces, including the permanent pedestrianisation of certain roads.

    8. Build municipality-NGO cooperation

    The ‘NGO House’ in Riga (LV) is a place for civil society organisations to hold events, develop sustainable cooperation with the municipality; and receive educational, technical and administrative support. The model inspired cities across the EU to boost their own synergies between NGOs, citizens and institutions – with support from the ACTive NGOs network. The Sicilian town of Siracusa, for example, has developed three new public spaces with local associations: Citizen's House on an abandoned floor of a school in a disadvantaged neighbourhood; Officine Giovani in a historic centre; and the Urban Centre, a recovered space, bringing the administration and community together in planning local policies.

    9. Welcome international talent

    Home to several multinational companies and a university, Debrecen (HU) is expanding support for professionals and students arriving from other countries to feel welcome and stay on as valuable members of the community. Debrecen is one of six cities in the Welcoming International Talent network, inspired by Groningen (NL) where a multidisciplinary team provides international residents with active support in housing, work, city living and communication. With improved stakeholder relations convincing local leaders to see social aspects of economic development, next steps include support for affordable accommodation, and encouraging local companies to recruit international talent.

    Find out more about these, and many more, sustainable city solutions – in the new URBACT publication ‘Good practice transfer: Why not in my City?’.

    Visit the Good Practice database for more inspiration.

    From urbact
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