Balancing openness and vigilance

LIVING TOGETHER SUMMIT

MONTRÉAL, JUNE 10-11, 2015

The global trend towards urbanization is accelerating! The UN forecasts that 66% of the world’s population will live in cities by 2050. Several countries already have an urbanization rate of more than 80%. The demographic profiles of major cities are increasingly diverse and include residents from all continents and regions of the world. As a result, cities are places where people of all backgrounds come together each day. Cities are key players in the process of welcoming and integrating migrants. They are also the place where their sense of belonging truly develops. Consequently, it is the responsibility of cities to ensure the inclusion of residents throughout their territories and guarantee a harmonious coexistence, regardless of the origins of their residents, as well as to be vigilant regarding any trend toward social fragmentation that could emerge.

Message From The Honourable Denis Coderre
Mayor of Montréal

Dear Colleagues, welcome to Montréal,

I am delighted to warmlygreet each of you on behalf of all Montrealers. With increasing immigration over the past three decades, women and men of different backgrounds and faiths now live side by side in our big cities.

Montréal, for example, is home to individuals from some 120 nations, who speak nearly 200 languages and dialects. One of every two Montrealers was (or has a parent who was) born abroad.

Message From Mr Jean-Paul Huchon
President Metropolis and president of the
Île-de-France Region

Living together never seemed as important before as it has in the past few months.The tragedies of Paris, as well as of Copenhagen, Brussels and Ottawa, have sounded a clear warning. Events in France tested a concept we had long taken for granted—that all French citizens fully endorse the principles on which our Republic was established. All nations hit by recent terrorist attacks have suffered the same trauma. Suddenly, it seemed as if the foundations of our living together were less solid than we had supposed.

   

Topics

Topic 1 :

Inclusive Cities: The Cities’ Roles at a Time of Increasing Diversity

CITIES HAVE THE CAPABILITY OF PROVIDING SOMETHING FOR EVERYBODY, ONLY BECAUSE, AND ONLY WHEN, THEY ARE CREATED BY EVERYBODY.

 

Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities

Initiatives are proliferating among the world’s metropolises today to promote better understanding and management of their diversity. As key players, cities are asked to discuss their roles and responsibilities and share the initiatives they have deployed in response to their community’s needs and specific situations.

Building an inclusive city is a complicated and constantly evolving task. The wealth and complexity of the social fabric, along with tension and conflicts, are situations that may require municipal intervention. This situation is exacerbated in metropolitan areas, which are the “primary platforms for our society’s social, political and economic issues[1]”. Cities must accordingly consider solutions for remaining inclusive, preventing the emergence of disparities and inequities and promoting the integration of all residents. How can they achieve these goals? What tools can they use? How can cities manage this growing diversity?

[1] Gilles Sénécal, Laurence Bherer, La métropolisation et ses territoires, 2009

Topic 2 :

Vigilant Cities: Cities’ Efforts to Increase Security and Create Comfort zones

SECURITY IS THE QUEST FOR A SITUATION OR MOMENT IN WHICH SOMETHING UNDESIRABLE DOES NOT EXIST OR DOES NOT OCCUR… SECURITY CAN PRIMARILY CORRESPOND TO A SPATIAL ENTITY, AS WITH A NATION OR URBAN AREA PROTECTING ITS RESIDENTS FROM ANY TYPE OF RISK OR THREAT.

 

Adam Crawford, Crime and Insecurity – The Governance of Safety in Europe

Living together is a state of unstable equilibrium that lies somewhere insecurity and social cohesion. Cities must use their public policies, by-laws, police and certain local initiatives to instil better balance. Living together does not, however, mean the complete elimination of tension. Urban density and different values, beliefs, religions and cultures make cities unique ecosystems in which conflicts and mutual misunderstandings arise. While inclusion of residents of all backgrounds is essential to harmonious coexistence, numerous difficulties may arise in this area. Cities must be able to take action to preserve and create comfort zone. Good prevention is part of vigilance, to prevent any kinds of radicalization.

We must accordingly have a better understanding of the mechanisms through which cities can create and maintain comfort zones. How do metropolises deal with colliding interests in public? What techniques do they use and resources they deploy to prevent issues from arising and to ensure social cohesion and security? How can comfort zones be created in the dense and diverse populations of our metropolises?