Sabadell is a Catalan city, co-capital of the Vallés Occidental region and has a population of 207.540 registered inhabitants. Situated only 26 kilometres from Barcelona it is the fifth largest city of Catalonia.
During the 19th and 20th century it was the pioneer in the industrial revolution of the textile sector in Catalonia, converting itself in the most important wool city of the Spanish state and gaining the nickname “the Catalan Manchester”. In the 60s, the city experienced its first large urbanistic development, receiving a large number of new citizens and citizens from the rest of Spain, mostly from Murcia and Andalusia. In the end of the 20th century, with the economic outsourcing, the service sector became more significant and the economic focus passed in the hands of trade, business and financial institutions, which absorbed the largest share of workers. In the 21st century Sabadell adapted to the challenges of new technologies and it aspired to transform into a reference site in society for information and knowledge. In that sense it forms part of the “Knowledge Cities” and can on top of this count with an important economic and social network and a large studying community (due to the presence of the Autonomous University of Barcelona and the Higher Schools for Design). Remarkable is also its important associative network with more than 800 entities of diverse orientation (cultural, environmental and youth) of which 56 are dealing with immigration.
Since 2000 until now, the city lived through a significant change of its demographic composition, from 1 % of foreign population to currently 11 %. The height was in 2010 when the number rose to 13.2 % of the total population (Source: Population Register – National Institute of Statistics). In percent and according to the data from January 2014, 41.31 % of the citizens with migrant background stem from Latin-America (mostly Bolivians and Ecuadorians), 31.96 % from Africa (predominantly Moroccans) and 9.07 % from Asia (mostly from China and Pakistan). Also diversity of religious convictions is represented by the 8 religious communities and the more than 70 culture centres all over the city.
With the end to face this new socio-demographic composition and the emergence of new management challenges, the city council created in 2006 the so-called Intercultural Bureau. It transformed the following year into the office for New Citizenship which offers reception services, information and orientation. In the current mandate of 2012-1016, the immigration and coexistence policies are organised by the Bureau for Civil Rights and Citizenship that proclaims the following objectives within the Director Plan 2011-2015: a) continue to develop the instruments for reception of recently arrived with the collaboration of the associative local network; b) promote the active associations, fostering a web of dialogue partners that work in favour of inclusion, diversity and civil rights; c) raising awareness of the citizens, facilitating instruments to counteract prejudices and stereotypes that have arrived at a critical stage; d) promoting the creation of links with projects that elaborate intercultural strategies, inter-associational and -generational, which offer spaces for relation, exchange of experiences and knowledge, giving value to diversity.