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Rotterdam Most Inclusive City in Europe

  • Dutch and Scandinavian cities score highest in new Inclusive Cities Barometer by Cushman & Wakefield

  • Inclusive cities enhance people's opportunities and increase their social and economic growth

Amsterdam - Rotterdam is the most inclusive city in Europe. This is according to the Inclusive Cities Barometer, a comprehensive survey of 44 cities in Europe and the Middle East (EMEA) by international real estate consultant Cushman & Wakefield. The survey measures the degree of inclusiveness based on nearly 5,000 data points broken down into 110 variables, including social structure, health and well-being, religious and ethnic freedom, and access to housing and the labour market. 

The Inclusive Cities Barometer is a data-based study on the impact of the built environment on inclusiveness and social cohesion in cities. Cushman & Wakefield is the first in the market to map, track and quantify this level of data on the inclusiveness of cities worldwide.

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The distribution of cities based on four categories that represent the maturity of cities in their journey towards inclusiveness.

Rotterdam leader in urban inclusivity

Under the leadership of Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb, Rotterdam has positioned itself as a pioneer of urban inclusiveness. The city is home to around 170 nationalities and stands out for its high level of cultural, religious and gender diversity. Key parameters that qualify Rotterdam as the most inclusive city include investment in quality housing, facilities for all communities and, for example, the broad accessibility of the labour market with currently historically low unemployment rates. For example, highly qualified professionals find work at multinationals such as Unilever, while the port area and port offer many opportunities for practically trained workers.

Behind Rotterdam, cities such as Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Oslo and Gothenburg position themselves high on the list of inclusive cities. These cities in mainly the Nordic region - are characterised by progressive social policies with strategies aimed at integrating the great diversity of communities. Other cities such as Barcelona, Berlin and Paris also show strong performance, but still face the task of reducing inequality. Cities such as Athens and Budapest are improving despite historical challenges, while cities in the Middle East and Africa - such as Abu Dhabi, Istanbul and Cape Town - are in the early stages of development.

Annelou de Groot, CEO Cushman & Wakefield Netherlands: "Creating inclusive cities requires intensive collaboration between communities, policymakers and the organisations that have a decisive role in creating and managing physical space. After all, they make the decisions about what is built for whom, including the form and function of facilities and spaces. This means that the real estate sector also has a great responsibility to ensure that projects benefit all residents of a city. Despite the fact that a lot is already going well, important areas of concern still remain. For example, 27% of the population over 16 in the EU has some form of disability. This group is twice as likely to be unemployed. A design for cities with more attention to disabilities - such as visual, hearing or physical impairments - can ensure better access to jobs for this target group."

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Four dimensions: economic, social, spatial and environmental

Inclusive cities are urban environments that prioritise diversity, equality and accessibility for all residents including vulnerable and minority groups. They do this partly through policies aimed at equal distribution of resources, facilities and services. The study identifies four main dimensions for urban inclusiveness: economic, social, spatial and living environment. Economically, inclusive cities often implement higher tax rates and policies aimed at better wealth distribution. Socially, these cities improve access to crucial services and support the physical and mental health of their inhabitants. Spatially, they enhance the quality of life through well-considered urban design and public safety is strongly focused on promoting equality. In terms of liveability, they work on good air quality and, for example, green infrastructure.

Inclusiveness contributes

About 57% of people live in urban areas, which generate about 80% of global GDP.This makes inclusiveness an important issue for nearly 5 billion people and affects $71 trillion of the global economy.Inclusive cities increase people's social and economic development potential, attract more talent and innovation, and stimulate investment and growth.This provides many opportunities for organisations as well as individuals to improve their social and economic status.Above all, inclusiveness makes cities more resilient and adaptable to the changing needs of its inhabitants. 

Inclusive Cities Barometer

To research the inclusiveness of cities, Cushman & Wakefield used findings from literature reviews, quantitative data and model aggregation. Data was collected from leading global third-party sources - such as the World Bank and the United Nations - and combined with internal insights to enable a comprehensive assessment of inclusiveness.




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