“Arrival cities” see immigrants moving to cities and suburbs

Immigrants to Sydney, Australia, an “arrival city” as termed by a Canadian journalist, are moving to the city and its suburbs:

London, New York, Los Angeles, Paris, Toronto, Mumbai, Istanbul, Jakarta, Shenzhen and Sao Paulo led the list, but Saunders writes that Sydney is on the cusp of this transition, a place where “the people renting the apartments and buying the houses and running the shops are mainly former villagers”.

The ”arrival city” is not so much the city as a whole but a ring of post-war suburbs, old enough to be a bit run-down but not old enough to be historic and charming, and usually far from the CBD…

Saunders studied rural-to-urban immigration in 20 cities on five continents and found that, despite the rhetoric of anti-immigrant populists, the clustering of migrants into particular suburbs brings more benefits than problems because the neighbourhoods often become centres of economic activity. In short, ethnic ”ghettos” are good…

Professor Phillip O’Neill, of the urban research centre at the University of Western Sydney, says Campsie, Lakemba and Punchbowl are also classic “arrival city” suburbs, where the gritty facades belie thriving neighbourhoods.

From what I can gather from this article, the new book Arrival City hints at a major trend in the United States and perhaps Canada and Australia: immigrants are commonly moving to suburbs, not just to ethnic neighborhoods within the big city. Attracted to wealthy metropolitan regions because of jobs and opportunities, more and more immigrants are going straight to the suburbs. This commonly occurs in inner-ring suburbs but can also occur in suburbs far out from the central business district.

This trend of immigration to the suburbs has been noted in the United States within the last decade. This can lead to a couple of concerns. One, it is a reminder that not all suburbs are wealthy and white; rather, some suburbs are “a bit run-down” which means they are generally cheaper and are good starting points for new immigrants. It is easy for commentators to generalize about all of suburbia but this new trend suggests this is not terribly accurate. Second, suburbs have to adjust to new populations. This might include changing school curriculum, thinking about the character of the suburb, and figuring out who can provide certain social services.

One thing that this article does not address: the movement of wealthy immigrants, such as those who might live in “ethnoburbs,” and how this immigration pattern looks different from that of more unskilled immigrants.

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