Cities of Migration: Connecting Cities to Improve the Integration of Urban Migrants

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The Maytree Foundation's Cities of Migration project aims to improve the integration of urban migrants through information sharing and learning exchange and to become a catalyst for city leadership on migration issues, internationally.


Through Cities of Migration (CoM), the Maytree Foundation seeks to improve local integration practice in major immigrant receiving cities worldwide. In order to do this, Cities of Migration will establish a virtual hub and learning exchange to help integration practitioners access information about promising local practices that are innovative, practical and exportable. Done well, Cities of Migration can enable city-level actors in integration to develop stronger ties and increase the effectiveness of local practices and the policy frameworks that support them.

Cities of Migration will engage the full range of stakeholders in the integration of urban migrants, including foundations, city government officials, community sector organizations, colleges and universities, employers, labour unions and resident and business associations to enhance its depth and reach.

At the core of this project is the Good Ideas initiative.

What is a "Good Idea"? At its most basic, a Good Idea is a program, activity or strategy that has worked within one organization and shows promise for becoming a successful practice with long term sustainable impact. A promising practice must have potential for replication among other organizations. This project will showcase good city-level integration practices that can provide innovative and practical solutions to common problems and challenge. Under the themes of Work, Live, Learn and Connect, users will discover Good Ideas in the integration of urban migrants that can be adapted locally and inspire new thinking in this important dimension of city prosperity and growth.


The CoM objective is to collect a broad, thematically and geographically representative collection of Good Ideas based on the following essential criteria. Good Ideas are:

  • practical - applied research and policy only
  • innovative - reflective of and relevant to current environment.
  • successful - evidence of impact
  • transferable - some evidence of replication


The project will focus on the following 5 key theme areas:

  1. Work - Practices which enable or enhance the economic contribution of migrants to the city. Employment, recognition of qualifications and skills assessment, vocational and skills training, workforce diversity.
  2. Live - Practices which support the successful settlement of migrants in the city. Housing and urban development, health and social services.
  3. Learn - Practices which support language learning, education and training, school-to-work transitions, anti-racism training
  4. Connect - Practices which promote or enhance the civic and political participation of migrants in city life and cross-cultural understanding between migrants and the broader community. Electoral rights and participation, volunteering, intercultural and inter-religious dialogue
  5. Plan - A further cross cutting issue will be how city planning can integrate infrastructure design to support social integration and create vibrant cities. May includes: transportation and public spaces, zoning, neighbourhood renewal projects


Migrants: Cities of Migration will focus on migration issues that relate broadly to international migrants and their families -both immigrants and refugees-- and the children of migrants, even if they were born in the new host country.

Cities: Cities of Migration will focus on large immigrant receiving centres world-wide.

At this first stage, CoM will be capturing good ideas from large immigrant receiving cities and cities where the foreign-born population exceeds 15% or has made a significant impact on the life and prosperity of the city and its citizens. Their initial focus is on OECD countries during this first stage (Europe, US, Canada, NZ and AU). However, they will consider any great practice identified world-wide on a case-by-case basis.


Good Ideas from Successful Cities: Municipal Leadership in Immigrant Integration