Barcelona, situated in the northeast of the Iberian Peninsula, is the second-largest city in Spain. The city is flanked by the Collserola desert to the west, the rivers Llobergat (to the south) and Bésos (to the north) and the Mediterranean Sea to the east. It looks back on a long and rich history, and exhibits an impressive architectonic heritage, a pleasant climate and an excellent cultural (ludica?) offering. These and others appeals have transformed Barcelona into the third-most visited city in Europe (more than 8 million tourists in 2013), only surpassed by London and Paris. It is no wonder that the service sector is the main economic driver of the city (employing 87.7 % of its population).
Demographically, Barcelona has a population of 1.611.822 persons (2013), but the metropolitan area combines about 5 million residents, which converts it into one of the largest city in Europe. This demographical mass represents 60 % of Catalonia’s total population. The foreign stock amounts to 16.7 % of the total population of the city (267.578 in 2014). The largest group by nationality is the Italian community (25.159), which has surpassed the Pakistani collective (20.052) this year. Other significant groups are the Chinese (16.435), French (13.062) and Moroccan (12.824) collectives. The Ciutat Vella (= old town) district, the historical centre of the city, receives the highest volume of immigrants, which constitute 42.4% of its inhabitants.
In 2010 the Barcelona city council initiated the Barcelona Interculturality Plan within the framework of the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue (2008) that generated fundamental courses of action like confidence, mutual acknowledgement, effective communication, dialogue and debate, education and exchange, pacific mediation in conflicts and cooperation and coexistence. Innovative programs like the Anti-Rumours project were born then, too.
Presently, Barcelona can count with numerous NGOs and foundations that promote the intercultural perspective. A remarkable example is SAIER (Immigrant, Emigrant and Refugee Service) which offers information and counselling on immigration, emigration, asylum and voluntary repatriation.
Barcelona: Results of the Intercultural Cities Index