“Geneva is the city of human rights.” During my research at a French language school for undocumented (or precariously residing) migrants, students often used this phrase to describe not only the city’s unique history and character, but to express their own aspirations for a good life there.
This summer I went to Brussels for my research on urban diversity governance. Brussels is the capital of Belgium and, in administrative terms, of Europe. Brussels is a super diverse city in terms of population and language. Officially, the city is bilingual but in practice it is multilingual. Because half of the Brusselian population has its roots in migration, English, Arabic, etc. are commonly spoken languages besides the official languages (Dutch and French). Every year, more than 30,000 immigrants arrive in Brussels. It is thus the immigrant gateway city of Belgium.