24 November 2009

Malmö Voices, dialogue with Christer Larsson #3

KED and Tove Helene asks, in question 3
Does she speak Arabic?
This question is related to my reaction when you presented us to one of your young colleges, working with the migrant communities in Malmö.
And I asked; does she speak Arabic? A question you said you have thought a lot about afterwords. In a lecture at Harvard this spring an Indian researcher said that the global quality of a city is to be measured on how she (the city) treats the migrant. Our students have been exploring Malmö and done discoveries in this field, they have visited Paris and done comparative studies and observations. I asked one of our students to enter into this question to you, and she wrote (before we travelled to Paris):

I see the numbers, where are the facts?
Visiting Malmö through the internet, I got to know that people from 171 different nations live in the city. These people represent almost 40 % of all ”malmöers”. Getting to know Malmö by diving in to the world of statistics, I understand that ”new malmöers” are representing 12 - 60 % of the population in every township. At least 38 nations are represented in each township by more than 10 persons. Centrum got inhabitants from 94 different nations. The nation that is biggest represented in one township, is Irak with 2881 persons.
Encircling the city of Malmö and being a visitor that see all the different townships by foot, by cycle, by buss, I find expressions of different social layers, different life situations and different ways of living. But, I can’t see, and I cant stop wondering, where does the diversity, richness and potential of all the new malmöers come to expression?
By using Knut Eiriks formulation “ Does she speak Arabic?”, I wonder...
”Where is her cultural treasure expressed?”
”How is her cultural treasure expressed?”
”When is her cultural treasure expressed?”

So our dear friend Christer; Can you elaborate on your thinking, your planning strategies, your innovations end explorations into the migrant, the stranger, as a force in
the appearing Malmö?

Christer Larsson answers
It is a tricky question and can´t been answered so precise, I mean we have a lot of positive effects from foreign cultures in Malmö. A lot of new restaurants, a lot of new shops etc, many of the small shops has been closed if not immigrants decided to run it. We also have a lot of cultural events and I also believe that the Malmöer have been much more open minded than before.
We have a big challenge in our comprehensive planning, one idea is to engage all the citizens in the process so how is that possible, one way is to reach the younger people through f ex new media. We know that there is a lot of thing going on in music and media and will try to find and engage them. Malmö has also been famous fore the rap-music f ex Timbuktu.
Integration is really a difficult issue and the key question is the labor market, it so essential that all people will have the opportunity to have a daily work to be integrated and learn the language.
I also believe that it is a long process of hard work in many issues at the same time and it´s not easy. My goal is that Malmö should be a multicultural and cosmopolitical city in a positive way, we will see. One way is to combine special planning and social economy, f ex to work with connections engagement and dialogue in our Dialogue-PM, you can see this PMs on our web.
We mustn´t forget that our welfare was created by immigrants during the 60ths were we had a lack of workers in Europe´s industry and needed to import Italians, Yugoslavs etc, don’t forget that.
I also suggest that you goes to Möllevångstorget next time, it is an exciting square with a lot of commerce.

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