European cities today are more diverse than ever before. Immigration, socio-economic inequalities, spatial segregation and a diversity of identities and lifestyles are all contributing factors. The challenges faced by urban policymakers and institutions to meet the needs of Europe’s increasingly diverse population are numerous and complex. The principal aim of DIVERCITIES is to examine how Europe can benefit from diversity. The project’s central hypothesis is that urban diversity is an asset.  It can inspire creativity and innovation. Create cities that are more liveable and harmonious. Stimulate local and national economies and make European cities more competitive. A European research team, headed by Utrecht University will conduct a comparative study in 13 European cities. Research will also be carried out in Toronto (Canada), one of the world’s most diverse cities.

The objective of DEPRIVEDHOODS is to develop a better understanding of the relationship between socio-economic inequality, poverty and neighbourhoods. The spatial concentration of poverty within cities is of great concern to the EU and national governments, and area based policies have been developed to combat these inequalities based on a strong belief in neighbourhood effects. The evidence base for such neighbourhood effects is limited and undermines current policy and practice beliefs. DEPRIVEDHOODS will break new ground by studying simultaneously neighbourhood sorting over the life course, neighbourhood change, and neighbourhood effects, within one theoretical and analytical framework. This project will be methodologically challenging and will be the first integrated, multi-country research project on neighbourhood effects to use unique geo-referenced longitudinal data from Sweden, United Kingdom, Estonia, and The Netherlands. Special attention will be paid to the operationalization of neighbourhoods and how it affects modelling outcomes. Through its integrated and international approach, DEPRIVEDHOODS will fundamentally advance understandings of the ways in which individual outcomes interact with the neighbourhood.

DIVERSE—Diversity improvement as a viable enrichment resource for society and economy (2014–2015)

In most EU countries, a large part of Third Country Nationals (TCNs) experience a situation of sufferance linked to both specific risks in the employment domain and conditions of social exclusion. In order to sustain both economic competitiveness and social cohesion in Europe, the project aims to tackle three major challenges as related to TCNs. The first change entails the progressive evolution of a system based on the depiction of immigrants as “contingently instrumental resources”, in order to render TCNs’ abilities and potential a structural resource for the qualitative development of EU economies and societies, according to a real “human capital model”. The second change entails a more diffuse and more conscious adoption, among different kinds of organization (private, public and non-profit), of diversity management (DM). The third essential change deals with the necessity of rebalancing an integration model that so far has largely stressed the economic (and working) dimension at the expense of the social and political ones.

IUT—Spatial Population Mobility and Geographical Changes in Urban Regions (2013–2018)

This research programme examines the links between various forms of spatial population mobility (external and internal migration, temporary mobility) and residential segregation for addressing the challenges facing sprawling urban regions, with a particular focus on Estonia and East Europe. Research is mainly based on large scale quantitative microdata, such as population censuses, population registers, and mobile phone data. The results of the research programme contribute to the a) better understanding of geographic processes and their consequences in urban regions; b) development of international knowledge centre for spatial mobility, urban and regional research; c) enforces MSc and PhD studies in the same field at the University of Tartu; and d) smart, sustainable and inclusive spatial planning practices and urban development in Estonia.

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