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S1715 Globalization, Ethics, Welfare and Human Rights (Global Challenges core)

Ostanel Elena

City and Immigration


Course description

The proposed course intends to explore the multifaceted challenges international migration poses at the urban level, particularly in terms of the governance and sustainability of increasingly diverse urban societies, within which the multiplication of norms and values associated with residents’ multiple cultural identities is profoundly challenging traditional concepts such as community, belonging, urbanity.

In and beyond Europe today we witness strengthened structural spatial divisions within city neighbourhoods, with increased inequality and sharper lines of division (Marcuse; van Kempen, 2000; Balbo, 2014)[1]. Neighbourhoods are increasingly hyperdiverse (Tasan-Koc et al, 2014)[2]: they are more diverse in socio-economic, social and ethnic terms, but many differences also exist in lifestyles, attitudes and activities. Continuing immigration and increasing socio-economic and ethnic concentration in neighbourhoods challenge social cohesion in local societies worldwide (Marconi, Ostanel, 2016)[3]. The refugee question further complexifies the current situation.

In Europe the polarisation of urban space exacerbates, and ethnic concentration in neighbourhoods overlaps with situations of social exclusion and deprivation. Proximity does not automatically mean recognition and urban conflicts as well as skepticism on the role of institutions are exacerbated. The contemporary European city urgently demands policy intervention aimed at promoting social cohesion in time of crisis as well as urban regeneration practices able to take inequality into account in the spatial and social distribution of disadvantage. While dissimilar top-down revitalisation strategies have resulted in new urban tensions, gentrification processes and social exclusion, community-led initiatives have also been experimented to produce social cohesion and transform power relations and socio-spatial inequalities.


The course will explore:

1. General trends about migration in EU and Italy

2. The impacts migrants and refuges have on the built environment, socio-cultural fabric and economic development of their host cities: in particular, barriers in access to housing and public space, initiatives for the building an intercultural city

3. The relationships migrants develop to their host cities: some case study analysis (Venice, Padua, Rotterdam, Johannesburg, Milan, London, different cases of small-size cities in Italy)

5. Security and immigration

6. Policies and practices: how to promote intercultural dialogue through social and cultural innovation

The course will provide the students with the opportunity to explore different case studies in Europe and outside aimed at promoting intercultural dialogue and mutual understanding.


Learning outcomes of the course

-       Students will become familiar with the most relevant international literature on the topic. The literature will be chosen from an interdisciplinary perspective in order to provide students with a comprehensive overview of the issues.

-       Students will profit from data and evidence from case-study researches; in this way students will encounter practices implemented in different cities worldwide and acquire expertise in comparative perspectives of research.

-       Students will profit from specific lessons given by invited national and international expert speakers taking advantage of the SSIIM Unesco Chair’s and IUAV’s networks and of some of the teacher’s own networks (see CV). In this way students will be able to benefit from specific expertise and experiences from other disciplinary domains.

-       Students will acquire specific practical skills thanks to field trips to visit some interesting projects dealing with the issue. They will also develop new knowledge on these field trips regarding how welfare approaches are designed and implemented at local level.

Students particularly interested in the course themes may be offered the opportunity to be tutored in their future research work (i.e. for a master or PhD thesis) by the research team of the SSIIM Unesco Chair on the “Social and Spatial Inclusion of International Migrants – Urban Policies and practices” running since 2008 at Università Iuav of Venice ( Another link will be with the Master Course in Urban Regeneration and Social Innovation ( at the same university.

[1] P. Marcuse, R. Van Kempen (2000) Globalizing Cities: A New Spatial Order?, Springer; M. Balbo, Contemporary Urban Space and the Intercultural City, in Marconi G., Ostanel, E. (eds, 2014 on press), The Intercultural City: Migration, Minorities and the Management of Diversity, IB Tauris, London

[2] T. Tasan-Koc, R. Van Kempen, M. Raco, G. Bolt (2014) Towards Hyper-Diversified European Cities. A Critical Literature Review, DIVERCITIES Project Report

[3] Marconi, G., Ostanel, E. (2016), The Intercultural City: migration, minorities and the management of diversity, London: IB-Tauris