Cities are becoming increasingly diverse, not only in socio-economic, social and ethnic terms, but also with respect to lifestyles, attitudes and activities. Urban diversity can be a strength rather than a burden. It can positively affect social cohesion, social mobility and economic performance. But a re-think of public policies and governance models is needed to make more intelligent use of diversity’s potential.
High levels of economic growth and the wellbeing of citizens, which are the main objectives of many urban policies, are closely connected to the level of entrepreneurship and the ability to create new enterprises. In the global era, cities compete for enterprises with high economic performance and talented entrepreneurs, besides creating conditions necessary for new start-ups. Academic literature emphasises that cities open to diversity are able to attract a wider range of entrepreneurs than those that are relatively closed. Empirical research on how local economic development is connected to urban diversity, however, is limited and provides evidence usually only at macro level. Therefore, the aim of the DIVERCITIES project was to provide empirical evidence on the relationship between urban diversity and entrepreneurship at the neighbourhood level, and more specifically on the reasons why diverse and deprived neighbourhoods may provide conditions for individuals or groups to enhance their economic performance.
by Anouk Tersteeg