Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Elephants Found In Oslo's Groruddalen

There's definitely More Than a Few Elephants 
Taking Over Oslo.  ... This is shocking!
From Norway's The ForeignerGroruddalen (aerial view)
Photo: Wilhelm Joys Andersen/Flickr

‘Ethnic Norwegians’ are moving out of Groruddalen by the tens of thousands in search of Whiter areas.
Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2011
No understanding
Groruddalen’s population has dropped by approximately 17,000 since 2007 as families leave to start a new life somewhere else. Groruddalen is a collective name for the Grorud, Bjerke, Alna, and Stovner districts. 
Those that are leaving the area blame their decision on the influx of immigration in the area. The term “White flight” is being used to describe the act of moving out of places like Groruddalen, reports NRK. 
Former FrP Chariman Carl I. Hagen, who is currently running for the position of Oslo Mayor, has also recently sparked arguments about immigration, remarking that terrorists are mainly Muslims.
Muslims living in Norway spoke to the BBC about how they are faced with hostility from Norwegians. They have also talked about when the attacks by Anders Behring Breivik happened. A considerable number of people initially assumed an Islamic extremist was responsible.
As well as increased multiculturalism in Groruddalen, many children with foreign-born immigrant parents struggle in Oslo’s schools because they are not as fluent in Norwegian as their ‘ethnic Norwegian’ counterparts.
A few months ago, the Progress Party (FrP) suggested that children with foreign parents should be forced to learn Norwegian so they are fluent in the language by the time they reach school.
Renovation and education
The Foreigner asked officials at the Directorate of Integration and Diversity (IMDi) which challenges they feel the government faces.
Why do you think 17,000 “Ethnic Norwegians”, use a term popular with the Norwegian media have moved from Groruddalen since 1997?
“There can be many reasons for ethnic Norwegians and Norwegians with backgrounds from other countries changing where they live. These may include work or education possibilities, residential environment, property standard, nearness to friends, nature, transport, cultural activities, cafés, restaurants, and shops,” they reply in an email.
What challenges does the government face and what does it propose to do so more people are encouraged to stay in, or move to the area?
“There is broad political agreement about the need for improvement in [social] climate and living conditions in Groruddalen.”
Politicians and Oslo officials say they intend to better these for everyone who lives there, but admit the dale has challenges.
In an ambitious initiative, which bureaucrats claim is “the biggest town renovation project in modern times” they want “to reinforce Groruddalen’s identity and pride.”
IMDi officials say this will include focusing on a local and inclusive cooperation, climate-friendly transport and green areas, sports, culture, education, and residential development.
“The main aim is that this will contribute to people enjoying and seeing a future in the dale, irrespective of ethnicity.”
According to the Directorate, several initiatives were taken between 2007 and 2010, including “half a place in kindergarten for all 4 and 5-year-olds in Groruddalen that is free, a no-cost Norwegian language course, and enhanced neonatal services.”
‘Better for all’
How would you say “ethnic Norwegians” moving out of the area helps governmental integration policy (both culturally, and encouraging immigrants to learn Norwegian)?
“Studies show there are no challenges connected with concentrations of immigrants living in certain areas. Other reasons that create obstacles include low employment, high unemployment, low income, etc.”
The Directorate admits it does not know what the long-term challenges and effects of people leaving Groruddalen entail, however.
“It depends upon the extent and direction, but there is no major reason to worry for now. 74,000 ethnic Norwegians lived in the dale at the beginning of this year, approximately 57 percent of the total 131,000-strong population.”
Mentioning a continued need for improvement, officials say they need to improve qualifications, Norwegian language fluency, and measures related to employment.
What can be done by the government to avoid a potential ghetto, possibly reinforcing results of the latest immigration poll?
“None of Groruddalen’s areas can be classified as ghettos today, as 50 percent or less of the population come from particular ethnic or cultural minority groups. However, the commitment to Groruddalen is not aimed primarily at immigrants, even though many with foreign origins live there. It is designed to make the area more attractive for people to live in, remain, and move to. Reputation-building is part of that,” they conclude.
It was not possible to confirm whether any of the documents IMDi refers to about improvements for immigrants and ethnic Norwegians in Groruddalen are in English, or other foreign language.

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