08 Jan A quick introduction to the four pilot cities
The MICADO project is implemented in four city clusters that also pilot the MICADO applications. In Antwerp, Bologna, Hamburg and Madrid a Public Authority partner, a Higher Education partner and a technical development partner built a strong team for the development, realization and implementation of MICADO. Complementing the project consortium are two partners with special expertise from Vienna. The MICADO cities are medium to large in size, with populations ranging from 400,000 to 3.3 million, with Madrid as the second largest and Hamburg as the sixth largest city in the European Union. The percentage of the population with an immigrant background varies from 15% in Madrid and Bologna to 35% in Hamburg and 50% in Antwerp. All four cities have received large numbers of refugees in recent years since 2015 and face common challenges of integrating the newcomers.
In all four cities, there are well-functioning integration programs from the municipal side, complemented by a wide range of activities from civil society organizations and individuals. In addition to basic social services (including the provision of housing and access to the health care system), local integration programs are generally characterized by a mix of language courses and social orientation as well as job coaching.
Challenges that have led cities to cooperate in the MICADO project include a fragmentation of existing local processes and services, points of contacts, and responsibilities that make it difficult for newcomers to easily navigate. For example, responsibilities often change depending on (changing) legal status (e.g., asylum seeker, recognized refugee) or even when moving within the city. Newcomers are thus forced to constantly reorient themselves. One of the goals that the cities are pursuing with MICADO is therefore to systematize and clearly present existing services in order to ensure effective mediation to connect the new foreign citizens to the services they are entitled to. In addition, newcomers should also be encouraged to participate in and help shape social processes.