OPENCities (Sofia, Bulgaria)
The OPENCities project of the British Council in partnership with Sofia municipality and the leading local consultant, CERMES (Centre for European Refugees, Migration and Ethnic Studies), organised a series of interactive workshops called the Future City Game with university students pursuing the following degrees: Public Administration, Political Science, European Studies and International Relations.
On 20 October the Future City Game started at the New Bulgarian University and involved 150 participants in eight sessions, on 1 November, at Sofia University, and on 4 and 5 December included representatives of the media, NGOs, education, business and local residents. The media partner was Sofia Echo. The 30000 references in the media reached via online announcements, two radio interviews, with RFI, National Radio Hristo Botev and Focus Online Agency interview, was good evidence of the interest that the activity aroused
The Future City Game was used to generate creative solutions in the field of migration management by fostering economic benefits for the city. The best ideas were presented on 19 February to the Local Support Group working with the municipality on the creation of an Action Plan to be implemented in 2011. Young people have a real say in what might be city policy of tomorrow and are able to contribute with proposals for Sofia municipality’s immigration management. The Future City Game facilitated dialogue between the participants, provided for the exchange of experience and helped them develop an open city policy.
OPENCities is an ambitious exploratory project which aims to capitalise on the many resources that a diverse population can bring to a city, without ignoring the challenges that successful integration involves.