A common set of crucial, migration-related issues stemming from the effects of international migration on large urban centres forms the basis of Metropolis, a six-year comparative international policy research effort involving researchers and public and private-sector actors from over fifteen countries and international organisations (including Canada, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Israel, Italy, France, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, the European Commission, UNESCO and the OECD).
The project is based on the assumption that countries with diverse histories, governmental structures, and instruments for classifying and accommodating newcomers share increasingly common challenges with respect to migrant and ethnic concentration in urban centres: competition in labour markets, increased unemployment, housing shortages, marginalisation of resident populations, perceptions of social fragmentation, issues of tolerance, racism and xenophobia, and concerns over youth attainment.
One of the principle goals of the Metropolis project is to create a constructive dialogue between policymakers, researchers and other stakeholders in the field of integration, towards the joint goals of developing policy-relevant knowledge, on the one hand, and informed policy on the other.
MPG served as the European branch of Metropolis’ International Secretariat during the last half of 1995 and the first half of 1996 with the support of the European Commission (Directorate General V) and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. During this period, MPG organised and hosted two Steering Committee meetings in Brussels in October 1995 and February 1996. These meetings brought together senior officials and researchers from the member countries, and began preparations for the first of six annual Metropolis conferences, to take place in Milan, Italy, in November 1996.
During the Milan conference, three research themes were identified which will steer the six-year project and feature prominently in comparative urban case studies to be highlighted during the international conferences:
- economic integration and labour market issues
- social cohesion and tolerance
- spatial concentration and mobility
MPG facilitated the expansion of the Metropolis network in Europe, organising the first two launch meetings of Metropolis in Europe.
MPG participated in the February 1997 meeting of the Committee in Paris to assist with preparations for the second international Metropolis conference, which took place in Copenhagen, Denmark, in September 1997.
MPG continues to serve as a member of the Metropolis Steering Committee.