The Advantages of Diversity is a paper I presented at the Nordregio Forum in Helsingor in 2015 on the topic of how to turn diversity into advantages. It considered how diversity itself is not an easy concept to grasp, as there are new forms of diversity emerging due to population mobility and increasing heterogeneity of migration in terms of country of origin, ethnic groups, legal status and so on. In my presentation I mentioned how challenging it is to design policies addressing these different groups suggesting that policies not only meet the needs of diverse people, but also increase or maintain the competitive advantage of cities. European urban diversity policies are people-based but have shifted towards a neo-assimilationist direction in recent years, meaning that social and cultural aspects of integration dominates policy-making tendencies. Ethnic diversity is highlighted as an economic asset in the policy discourses of some cities (e.g. London), but an ethnicity and race-based approach fails to address the needs and capacities of a complex urban society nowadays. Grouping people into broad categories leads to integration and social-mix policies, which despite good intentions, fail in reality. For more information read the short interview I did titled How can Nordic cities profit from the diversity of their population?
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