CH 5: The first great migration: How The West arrived

Rebuild Foundations’ Listening House (left) and Archive House (right). Photo by Sarah Pooley.

kenstewartKen Stewart is the Chief Operating Officer at Rebuild Foundation and Associate Director of Strategic Planning, Arts + Public Life at The University of Chicago.  Ken manages operations and planning across both Arts + Public Life at the University of Chicago and Rebuild Foundation, a non-profit founded by the artist Theaster Gates in the Greater Grand Crossing neighborhood in 2010.  Currently he is also finishing his MBA at the Booth School of Business, where he is studying entrepreneurship, marketing strategy, and finance, and he holds an MA in the Humanities from the University of Chicago.  Prior to this he worked in strategic communications at the University of Chicago and was a University Fellow in the Department of English Studies at the University of Illinois—Chicago. Read more about Ken here.

Ken Stewart on Arrival City Chapter 5: The first great migration: How the west arrived

Near the end of chapter five of his fascinating book Arrival City, author Doug Sanders makes a parenthetical reference to the Great Migration in the United States, a period of roughly 60 years during which time millions of African Americans migrated from their rural homes in the South to industrial cities in Northern, Midwestern, and Western states.  Approximately half a million of these migrants relocated to Chicago’s South Side—a chain of neighborhoods known as the Black Belt that formed what St. Clair Drake and Horace Cayton (authors of the landmark study Black Metropolis) called a “city within a city.”  For African Americans migrating to Chicago from the South during this period, the South Side was very much an “arrival city.”

Several factors caused this massive exodus from Southern states into cities like Chicago.  Violently cruel and legally sanctioned racism raged in the South, and, in cities like Chicago, World War I (and then World War II) created enormous demands for manufacturing capacity, and with that demand came greater opportunity for employment.  Chicago, to be clear, perpetrated its own forms of segregation throughout these years.  In Native SonRichard Wright famously chronicled the ferociousness with which the “color line” circumscribing the Black Belt was enforced.  The legacy of the color line can be observed today simply by riding the full distance of the Red Line north to south.  The promise of economic opportunity, however, nonetheless attracted hundreds of thousands African Americans to Chicago over the course of several decades.

The Great Migration and the economic opportunity helping to drive it had reached its twilight by 1970.  Since then, the South Side of Chicago has experienced steep declines in investment, employment, and population.  Vacant homes, abandoned manufacturing plants, unused rail lines, closed schools, neglected municipal infrastructure, and empty land are not unusual sights.  It is a common story across many rust belt cities, and it is in this context that Rebuild Foundation focuses its work.

Rebuild Foundation is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization founded by the artist Theaster Gates Jr. in 2010.  The work that Rebuild does grew organically out of Gates’s art practice and his vision of the possibility and power of art and culture to transform and give lift to underinvested neighborhoods.  Not necessarily imagining that his individual efforts one day would flourish into a full-fledged, mission-driven non-profit organization, Gates began renovating dilapidated homes in Chicago’s Greater Grand Crossing neighborhood into beautiful spaces where small screenings, informal performances, casual readings, and great parties were held.  He wanted to bring to Greater Grand Crossing the kind of cultural amenities South Siders would travel downtown—outside their neighborhoods—to find.

In 2010, these efforts at neighborhood transformation were formally organized into Rebuild Foundation.  Our official mission is to rebuild the cultural foundations of underinvested neighborhoods and incite movements of community revitalization that are culture based, artist led, and neighborhood driven.

Black Cinema House. Photo by Sarah Pooley.
Black Cinema House. Photo by Sarah Pooley.

To date, we operate across four sites, including the first two residential houses that were reimagined into beautiful, informal community and event spaces.  They are the Archive House and the Listening House, named respectively for the collections of architectural and design books, glass lantern slides, and vinyl LPs that they house (collections rescued from the shuttered Dr. Wax record store, the University of Chicago, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and the closed Prairie Avenue Bookshop).  Since Rebuild’s founding, we also have operated a program known as Black Cinema House, which focuses on films related to the African Diaspora and hosts screenings two to three times per week in a former Anheuser Busch distribution plant.  Last November, Rebuild also was one of three partners that opened the Dorchester Art + Housing Collaborative, a 32-unit mixed income housing development aimed at providing affordable housing for artists that is anchored by a new art center.  The DA+HC is located on the site of a former Chicago public housing development—the Dante Harper homes—which Rebuild and its partners redesigned and reopened into the new complex.

Stony Island Arts Bank. Photo by Sarah Pooley.
Stony Island Arts Bank. Photo by Sarah Pooley.

By far our most ambitious redevelopment and repurposing project to date is the Stony Island Arts Bank, which will make its public debut this October as one of the three official sites of the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial.  The Bank is a 17,000 square foot, three-story neoclassical bank built just after the turn of the twentieth century.  Prior to construction, it had been vacant since at least 1978, and it was purchased from the City of Chicago just before its scheduled demolition. The Bank will serve as a platform for a broad extension of Rebuild’s programs into art commissions and exhibitions; artist and scholar residencies; and the preservation of and access to archives and collections of material objects that are vital artifacts in the history of art, architecture, music, and Black culture.  The Bank, we strongly believe, has the potential not only to become Chicago’s and one of the country’s most important supporters and venues for the exhibition and study of contemporary art, architecture, and Black culture, but also stands to put Chicago’s South Side and the Unites States at the forefront of the growing movement of site-specific, concept-driven alternative art institutions thriving around the world.

In this way, Rebuild’s work responds to what has happened in the decades-long wake of the Black Belt as arrival city.  We deal in the reversal of that surge, and all of the complex political relations and justified sensitivities that are rooted in it.  One could say that our long-term goal is to restore the Black Belt’s momentum as an arrival city, using art as our primary means not only to rebuild a cultural infrastructure that residents choose to stay close to and participate in, but also to attract and intelligently manage the kinds of investment necessary to stabilize a set of communities that deserve it.  Over the short term, however, our goal is more modest.  One cannot drive around Chicago today and help but see and experience a set of very deeply entrenched forces that perpetuate what, on the surface, appear as lingering vestiges of the Black Belt’s color line and all of the material consequences that go with it, vestiges that generations of city leaders have not been able to stave.  Our short term goal, then, is to counter those lingering vestiges, to the extent that we can, simply by rebuilding.

By Ken Stewart

21 Comments Add yours

  1. Rizwan Desai says:

    In this chapter of the book, Doug Saunders documents the rural-urban migration of Paris and London and to a lesser extent, a few cities of North America. Saunders explains that rural-urban migration had existed for thousands of years but the first great arrival city was Paris. Saunders explains that rural-urban migration prior to the eighteenth century was a dismal journey as urban centers were diseased environments which would generally kill off many inhabitants. Saunders further explains that with increasing immunity, coupled with nourishing crops, populations exploded and thus looked for work in urban centers which were no longer killing off as many individuals due to disease.

    At this point, we see the creation of the first arrival cities in Paris, London and New York amongst others that Saunders mentions. There are two main points to note about this first wave of arrival which Saunders already mentioned repeatedly in his earlier chapters. Firstly is the idea that rural-urban migration was not anticipated, comprehended or managed by any government. Like many modern cases we observe, arrival cities have been and are neglected and thus their potential is not realized and they are left in a general state of failure and hopelessness. Saunders’ second point in this chapter is of arrival cities in North America where arrivals could OWN the land they lived on which resulted in higher rates of upward mobility in cities of North America than in cities of Europe. This is another repeated piece of advice that Saunders gives throughout the book.

    Both pieces of advice – that governments need to manage arrival cities and that arrivals must be able to own land – are sound. The idea behind both is that with proper management, arrivals can be given the tool to succeed and with the ability to own land, the HOPE to succeed is present. Without this hope to succeed and prosper, the results are chaotic – Saunders illustrates this by explaining the events leading up to the revolutions of the nineteenth century.

    1. hanan says:

      Comment Response

      Ken Stewart comment on Arrival City Chapter 5: The first great migration: How the west arrived, accurately depicts the change in Chicago as an arrival city. Millions of African Americans migrated from the South to other industrial cities in the United States. In particular Chicago got a large number of African Americans primarily because there were economic opportunities available to them, despite the presence of racism. Partly due to Chicago’s decline in investment, employment and population, Stewart mentions Rebuild Foundation, an NGO (non profit organization) that focuses its work on revitalizing neighbourhoods. By using the power of art and culture, Rebuild Foundation transforms underinvested neighbourhoods. In my opinion, Rebuild Foundation is doing great work and brings a unique vision to revitalizing for the reason that they do not hope for the common expectation from revitalizing but rather provide a culture that is not typically found in underinvested neighbourhoods. Rebuild Foundation is a great response to Chapter 5 of Arrival City because they aim to tackle to the same things Chicago endured as an arrival city. By rebuilding and restoring momentum and culture, Chicago is slowly becoming an arrival city once more. For example, Stewart mentioned Stony Island Arts Bank, which is a bank that serves as a platform for Rebuild’s programs and preserves artifacts in the history of art, architecture, music, and Black culture. In the end, Ken Stewart’s post on Chapter 5 of Arrival city closely connects the vision of Rebuild Foundation to the history of migration that occurred in Chicago specifically.

    2. Marina Kousa says:

      Doug Saunders Does a great job in his book “Arrival City” by including amazing historical details and personal stories of people that have had their lives changed by moving to the “arrival city”. Chapter 5 of Saunders book “The First Great Migration: How The West Arrived” starts off very strong by explaining that Paris was the first arrival city in the modern world. It was very interesting how Saunders explains that most of the problems that happened in arrival cities are due to the government of the time in the way that they created cities. Which led to overcrowding and people starving. The problem is that a lot of these problems are still seen in the world today. I wish it were something that Saunders also touched on in his chapter. I feel it was especially horrifying to learn about how underprivileged women were and how they often had to suffer through worst conditions when arriving to the arrival city. I do believe that Saunders did a great job in this chapter. I just wish he also spoke to why the way cities were created changed because on new ideologies during that time like neo- liberalism which was due to the oil embargo and globalization.

  2. Vivian Hong says:

    In Chapter 5 of Arrival City, it begins with Paris in the late 1800s migration of rural-urban which was the largest and greatest that the world has seen. In Paris, politically, the introduction of an arrival city brought political force that would be able to change the nation. Sanders also discusses the “vertical stratification” in some districts of Paris’ arrival city which rank socio classes. The lower floors of buldings were for urban classes and poor rural arrival migrants were to live on the top floors until the 1880s when elevators were invented and this structure was reversed. This created a division of arrival cities to be based on ranking and socio-economic classes. The center of the city was were migrants originally settled in arrival cities, but in Paris, it slowly pushed them out and away from the core to the outer ore because the core was starting to become beautified and possibly the beginning of gentrification. Socially constructed we always imagine men coming to arrival cities first to find jobs and save money but in reality, it is the women who do so. In order to reach full rural-urban migration in the 19th century, it was believed by historian Charles Tilly that it was because of women in domestic service. “Cities, like armies, destroyed people almost as fast as they could take them in.” (pg 136) Cities were center for people to catch diseases passed on and many died from it because of lack of immunity, sanitation or medicine. There was a great importance on food crops which generate survival and younger marriages which increased population. Soon enough, towns were becoming too overcrowded and children in families with too much people started having to hit the road and live on their own due to the lack of affordability to feed all. This migration from rural to urban also resulted in a shift from rural poverty to urban poverty with the high population migrating and growing in urban areas. Thus this led to inhuman wages for any work available in the city and further oppressing women and children to earn even lower wages which resulted in urban suffering. Therefore, in order to end this, there needs to be proper sanitation, housing and reformations of humanitarism.

  3. Hana Lapp says:

    Chapter 5 of Doug Saunders’ Arrival City delves into the push and pull factors that influenced the great urban migration throughout Europe in the eighteenth century. Beginning with what Saunders’ cites as ‘The First Explosion’, the authors explains that immunity to epidemic diseases (such as bubonic plague) changed the European city population from 118 million in 1700 to 197 million in 1801. However, the land couldn’t support the population boom, and villagers feeling the strains of insufficiency, were driven into city to find other means of survival. It was against this background that the French Revolution broke out, and although the villagers were the reagents of the Revolutions, the next decade and a half would prove they would not become the beneficiaries.

    Elsewhere in Europe, an equally profound transformation was taking place, as farmers were learning to intensify their crop yields by means of high farming. While this shift in agriculture did require more labour per hectare, thus increasing rural employment, the instant end to subsistence-level peasant farming, in addition to the era’s fertility boom, created a surplus of populations who abandoned the countryside in search of work in the cities. These enormous migrations caused many European cities to become “emblems of Dickensian fiction”, and were characterized by their dismal sanitary conditions, open sewage, cholera outbreaks, and rates of violent crime. As London’s great arrival cities continued to take shape on the periphery, governments in the latter half of the nineteenth century began to develop a wide range of public-housing schemes that, although were good-intentioned, often lacked sufficient funding. Governments were then forced to accept the horrifying reality that urban planning was going to have little effect on the successes of the arrival city.

    The point to be emphasized throughout this chapter is that this enormous wave of rural-to-urban migration was neither anticipated nor managed by any government, and in many cases actually destroyed them. As mentioned earlier, urban planning and the development of public housing was not the answer to reducing urban poverty in slums, rather it was the introduction of social services, such as public education or social welfare. Although they did not happen quickly, these reforms began to change the hopes of the poor, where the possibility of labourers moving up into higher occupations was greater than it had ever been.

    The answer, as Saunders seems to suggest, is providing new migrants with the capacities of self-determination. This includes governments providing stable social services (thereby making health and education a human right based on need rather than the ability to pay), and affording new migrants the rights to own their own land. As Saunders notes, land ownership can offer social stability and a clearer path to the middle-class (if properly supported by governments). Unfortunately, the more recent development of property financing and barriers to home ownership has made it increasingly difficult for poor migrant families to claim any piece of land as their own. Without this important piece of capital, the journey to the middle-class, couple with prospects of higher education, has become an increasingly improbable dream

  4. Virginia Tucciarone says:

    Chapter 5 in Doug Saunders book is one that I found very interesting. The chapter details the experiences of individuals who migrate from rural villages to arrival cities throughout Europe. Paris was a very unique arrival city because unlike others, the governments managed the migration, thus giving it supreme power to change a nation politically. This arrival city also welcomed class inequalities, which was evident via a ‘vertical stratification’ (132) which separated urban dwellers from rural-arrivals in the workforce. Another pressing issue in these cities was the lack of sanitation, immunization, and lethal diseases. This resulted in more deaths than baptisms for the greater part of the 18th century. The latter half of the century unveiled immunization and better sanitary practices, which resulted in a population boom in Europe. It also led to most of the population starving, bread shock and the French revolt. Though France’s arrival cities had many issues with it, one thing that made them prosperous was the government’s involvement in enclosure, which meant higher food yields and higher employment.
    Saunders goes on to explain why migrants travelled from rural areas to different arrival cities throughout Europe. In Germany, the migration from countryside- arrival city occurred due to England’s enclosures, which resulted in Berlin becoming the most densely populated city in the world in the 19th century. In Barcelona, Cerda was an arrival city because it provided sanitation and the ability for migrants to own land. Most of the migrants who left London’s peripheries were women who went to work in arrival cities to enter domestic services. Moreover, we can see a shift in migration in the second half of the 19th century, when the arrival city was created around the railway stations in London. This confirms Andrew Miles idea that ‘the arrival city changed in nature as the century went on…due to social barriers and increased mobility’ (152).
    One of the most interesting concept I got out of this chapter was when Saunders says, “the social mechanism of the arrival city most often functioned as a great collective instrument for raising living standards above the levels of perpetual rural poverty, if not higher….it is the chaotic, mercantile arrival city, not the well-ordered rural village or regional town, that made this upward mobility possible( 152-153).”
    To conclude, I believe that Saunders describes different individual stories throughout Europe to show that every arrival city is very different. People migrate for multiple reasons, and some cities fail and some succeed. The governments have a large role to play in allotting people land ownership, which leads one to social stability.

  5. Zachary Erickson-Henderson says:

    Chapter 5 of Arrival City offers an interesting outlook on how many of the major cities of today grew into what they are. Using examples of Paris, London, Toronto, and Chicago Saunders explores the mass migration of rural workers to European and North American arrival cities. As the farming industry slowly began to deteriorate in France many citizens of rural villages (especially women) moved to major arrival cities like Paris in hopes of finding work that would both support themselves and their families. Unlike France England’s farming industry was growing and flourishing thanks to the adoption of new farming methods and technologies. Because of this London’s great arrival city took shape around the periphery where the rural migrants disembarked. North American arrival cities were characterized by self-built peripheral housing which represented at least a third of all housing in Toronto. What all these arrival cities have in common is this large influx of people hoping to find success and a better life in the cities. For many rural workers and inhabitants cities were and are still seen as centres of economic progress and represent this possibility of moving out of the lower class and joining the allusive middle class, leading to a presumably happier and more comfortable life.
    In conclusion chapter 5 offers interesting insight into the urbanization of major European and North American cities. Following the personal journeys of a few individuals and families, Saunders highlights why people began moving to cities in the first place and how the structure of these cities changed as the population grew.

  6. Maryam K. says:

    In the first five chapters of arrival city, we see that rural to urban migration is not a new phenomena; in fact it is quite common and has been for many a years. Doug Saunders engages the readers by telling an abundance of mini stories and experiences that explain how different countries experience arrival cities. The risks people take and the struggles people endure to transition from rural to urban is seen in many accounts. In chapter 5 of arrival city, Doug Saunders explores many different arrival cities from Paris, to London in Europe, to Toronto and Chicago in North America. The most thought provoking case however, was this idea of the increase of female migrants to urban centers. As historian Charles Tilley found that women in the 19th century, migrated from rural to urban landing jobs in domestic service, which was perceived as the “gateway” for rural to urban migration, (p. 134). The importance of women migrating to the cities has had profound impacts on female independence that continues to linger in the 21st century. Additionally, in chapter 4 we see that the Storczynski family rely heavily on their daughters urban contributions from Warsaw. This brings me to my next point regarding the importance of remittances. With rural communities relying on remittances, only proves the lack of opportunities provided in rural communities, which further ignites this transition from rural to urban.

  7. Viktor Anastasov says:

    Chapter 5 of Arrival Cities is quite a stimulating one. Saunders describes how arrival cities in the west began to emerge and thus the title of the chapter “How the West Arrived”. It’s quite an interesting contrast to the rest of the chapters because it focuses on London, Paris and Toronto, which today are one of the most developed cities in the world. It gives the reader and overlook and a background of what these three cities had to go through in their development phase to get to where they are today.
    In the first section of the chapter, Saunders writes about the situation in Paris and how it was the “first great arrival city of the modern world”. This is quite an interesting point that intrigued me vastly. Paris was not the largest arrival city, but it was one that experienced the biggest and fastest explosion of rural-urban migration. Paris was also the first city in which governments made grave mistakes in managing this migration. Very important point, because it can be argued that this mismanagement by the government led to Paris being one of the most important hubs of political change in the world. Mismanagement of this great arrival city also led to extreme poverty, horrors and the French Revolution. Paris’s boom as an arrival city was also quite interesting in terms of gender. Presently the popular image of an arrival city is young men coming to work in factories and later bringing their families along, but in reality in Paris, it was more often women who arrived first due to the domestic service jobs available. Rural migrants seeking livelihood increasingly overcrowded Paris, because their land in villages was taken up and Paris became a central city for organizations to develop and spark up the Revolution.
    Saunders soon after makes an interesting comparison between Paris and London and their arrival city strategies. He observes how in Paris, peasants and urbanites grew further apart in cultural and economic terms, whereas in Britain they tended to converge. The urban and rural salaries in Britain were almost the exact same whereas in France it was a different situation. This is as essential point, because we can understand how the Revolution in Paris broke out, and in comparison how London avoided a major one.
    In the last section of the chapter, Saunders observes the rural to urban migration in the New World cities, most notably that of Toronto. He makes a stark observation in how shantytown development in Toronto, resembles that of current peripheral slums of Asia today. This point is very significant, because it can help us to better understand how this change occurred in Toronto, and what we can do to emulate its development with the development of Asian peripheral slums. However, we must also point out the important difference between New World arrival cities and that of current Asian arrival cities. North America was different because it had lots of land space, and to achieve ownership of land was not very difficult and this prompted upward social and economic mobility. Whereas in current developing nation’s arrival cities, land and ownership is extremely difficult to come by and thus upward mobility lacking, when we compare it to arrival cities in the New World.
    I only have one critique for Saunders, and that is his oversimplification of how World War I escalated from the shot of Gavrilo Princip. He states that his “extreme views” were a product of his difficulties and mismanagement in the arrival city by the Austrio-Hungarian Empire, however I believe that this is an flaw of oversimplification because there were many other factors that contributed to his actions.

  8. Kris Sukhlal says:

    Chapter 5 of Arrival City by Doug Saunders touches on the topic of the development of cities and how they have continued to progress over the years. Some of the examples of cities that Saunders references include London, Paris and cities of North America such as Chicago and Toronto. Throughout this chapter, Saunders generally discusses and provides his take upon the processes of Urbanization within these cities while also providing details from personal accounts of families and certain individuals. He also discusses migration and how migrants moved across parts of Europe from various rural areas, one of which included Cerda as it allowed migrants to be able to own land. Most of the migrants were cited as women and the majority of these shifts occurred within the latter half of the 19th century. The highlight of this chapter focuses on the wave of migration occurring from rural to urban areas and how it ended up being managed by the government while also being unanticipated. The success of the arrival city was not to be owed to urban planning as it was discovered by the government as having an extremely minimal effect. This helped to proclaim that migrants were being granted with capacities of self determination by the government providing them with health care and education as a human right. The generalization made in this chapter by Saunders focused on the decisions of why migrants chose to inhabit these cities initially and how these cities in question showed progression in development over the years.

  9. Noor shahid says:

    In chapter five of Arrival City by Doug Saunders, the discussion shifts to the migration that took place in Paris, London and a few places in North America, in the late 1800’s. He claims this migration was one of the biggest migration the world witnessed at the time. Although this transition of migration from one place to another had existed for many centuries, the first great “arrival city” he notes was Paris. There existed many reason for why such large groups of people were making this shift and moving into urban centres. Prior to the eighteenth century cities were victims to poor environmental condition and lack of sanitations people avoided making the move because they feared that they would come in contact with the deadly disease killing off many people in the cities. It was only after the eighteenth century when conditions of urban centres became much safer for people to live in.
    Saunders argues that the rural-urban migration was not anticipated, especially how rapidly these migration took place. The lack of attention to such migration also led to the mismanagement of arrival cities. This lack of management has led to arrival cities to become overpopulated. It further led to many people lacking jobs and not owning their own land, failure and homelessness led t depression and many people falling into poverty.
    In conclusion, the point Saunders tries to highlight throughout his discussion is the need for governments to manage these arrival cities .Having a proper system in place would make conditions for these people much more suitable. It would also deal with the issue of poverty, controlling poverty before it gets out of hand is really important.

  10. Vivian Low says:

    In Arrival City, chapter 5 details major arrival cities including European and North American cities with significant urban-to-rural migration. The author, Doug Saunders, opens the chapter with a detailing of the migration experience of Jeanne Bouvier, who like most arrival-city residents sought a source of income and a better life. Bouvier’s story reinforces the first function of an arrival city (that creates and maintains networks of relationships between individuals in arrival and established cities). Indeed, Bouvier’s relationship to other villagers in Paris enabled her to move to the city. Beyond 19th century European migration, European arrival city arguably made upward mobility of an individual possible. Indeed, the rate of upward mobility suggests that rural villages were not successful in changing the nature of mobility. The advantages of arrival cities became more evident as governments supported reforms to aid in the social mobility and progress of arrival cities. In North America, resident-owned land provided a path to upward mobility and social stability, resulting in high rates of blacks and women with lower-income home ownership, in cities such as Detroit, New Haven and Toronto. Evidently, barriers to home and land ownership negatively affect the social mobility of individuals; therefore, government intervention should only support rather than regulate arrival cities.

  11. Kristin says:

    The chapter starts in Paris, with a girl named Jeanne Bouvier, and her move into the city. Her bedroom was so small that there was barely anything in it, but she liked it because it was hers. Jeanne saved, and lived on a strict budget. This budget included sending money back to the village to ensure that people were able to get food and pay for their bills. One of the functions of the arrival village is about creating and maintaining networks. These networks are maintained by migrants sending back money to their villages.
    In the 1790’s there was a type of housing called Garnis. These types of housing held up to 15-20 people in one place,with the inhabitants needing to arrange a sleep schedule due to overcrowding. Those who worked or tried to find jobs during the day slept at night, but those who work night shifts would have the ability to sleep during the day. These housing arrangements were overcrowded but worked for what the arrival city was being used for. All the workers really cared about was to make sure that they had somewhere to sleep when their shift was done.
    These arrival cities have helped many come and gain the ability to shift from rural to urban. Though some are never able to truly transition into the middle class but it gave them the economic ability to send money home and help their villages. The large scale Urbanization has created these “slum” like communities where there are many people trying to live in small quarters. The large number of people flowing into the city together in large waves does not give cities enough time and money to build infrastructure or services that would help these new migrants.
    Around the 1790’s there was a large commercial boom in farm land. People started creating what was called High Farms. These farms needed many more people to work on them creating more labour work. This did not create enough work for everyone, which was a contributing factor that began the urbanization process.
    The most interesting aspect of this chapter that I found was the part about transatlantic arrival. Saunders states “…In the United States, 81 percent of sons of unskilled labourers moved up to higher occupations, compared to only 53 percent of British sons, and downward mobility was also lower”. North America gave people the highest chance to make a better life for themselves. If people crossed the Atlantic then there was a higher rate of success than in Europe.
    Toronto was a shantytown, the difference between these and others around the world is that those individuals in Toronto were able to own their own land. Every resident had the legal purchase agreement to their land. This allowed for high rates of social mobility because land ownership was helpful in making families accumulate more wealth since they didn’t have to worry about where to sleep.
    Speaking about these different shantytowns specifically in North America this chapter was enlightening because it is interesting to learn about what was here before the residential areas of Toronto. The small aspect of the chapter that spoke about North America was fascinating because sometimes it is easier to understand something in a city that you know about, and not about a city that you have never visited in your life. Thinking specially about Toronto since I know the city it is easier to picture what Saunders is talking about more than when he speaks about cities like London, England or Poland.

  12. Sophie Vijayasinkam says:

    Chapter 5 of Doug Sanders was an interesting read so far from the novel. I can relate to the this chapter as in the beginning the narrator speaks about Jeanne who tries to make an income for herself to provide for her family back home. This is the case with many immigrants here including my family. We still provide for our families back home and despite the shift from culture values, demographics, environment and atmosphere one can say that survival mode is the utter most important subject when coming to a another city. This chapter was very relatable to people who move to a new city and try to accommodate to new changes. Due to new economic prosperous beginnings it is tough for an immigrant to build their life at a rapid pace and to expect a decent outcome. I believe that this chapter undeniably portrays the true lifestyle of a harsh lifestyle when new economic beginnings are at a boom. Although these economic booms are occurring there are also times where the economy takes a hit and there is inflation. It is mentioned clearly on page 142 that there was a massive dividend income wise between the urban families. With urban division comes other factors that destroy the livelihood, assets and capabilities of these families. Illness was one main factor which was a contributing factor in the diminishment of many families. Loss of citizens meant loss of people to do jobs which brought down the economy which can potentially increase the gap within the urban lifestyle. This book has enabled one to view through a lense that potentially shows the reality of many global south residence whom strive for survival but also have negative factors that are affecting them.

    – Sophie Vijayasinkam

  13. Ali says:

    ‘The first great migration: How the west arrived’ differs from the previous chapters as it focuses on the creation of arrival cities in what are considered some of the most developed regions of the world (Paris, London, Toronto, and Chicago). However, it’s interesting to observe the parallels that exist between the mini stories throughout all chapters, as they illustrate that the circumstances that create arrival cities, remain the same. A man who migrates to Toronto, works in the city, and lives in a makeshift housing area in the outskirts, is going through nearly the same experiences as characters identified in chapter 1 in developing countries in East Asia. In Paris, the main city developed beautifully with architecture and opportunity, while the outskirts made up of urban to rural migrants such as Jeanne, are pushed further into the periphery. In fact, all over Europe arrival cities in Berlin, Barcelona, and London were characterized areas compact with shantytown housing and social barriers.

    What I found most interesting in the difference between North American and European arrivals cities is the way in which development occurred. Saunders attributes the high rate of upward social mobility in North America, to the large number of members of the ‘new poor’ (who were mostly blue collar workers) that were so determined to obtain legal home ownership. He also says in passing that this was a high trend among blacks and women. This is significant to me because it shows that individuals who make up the minority and are typically those affects (or rather, targeted) in changes to reducing social policy are those who were able to legitimize and build up social mobility.

    This was possible because barriers do so did not exist in the same way they did after the second half of the 20th century. Land ownership that leads to faster prosperity is much harder now that it involves navigating through major changes as “cities became more zoned and regulated, barriers to home ownership and property financing became more difficult, and the pathways from lower- to middle-class status came to be defined by much harder to obtain forms of higher education and loan capital” (159). These circumstances did not exist until after these cities were relatively developed, yet currently developing countries impose these same barriers on arrival cities which ultimately make it harder for them to reach the same rate of development.

  14. Betina says:

    I would like to engage with a particular passage in this chapter, one that I argue encapsulates a major theme in the book. Namely, the two contradictory perceptions of the arrival cities of the past and their limitations (this can be found under the subheading ‘Arrival Where?’). Saunders lays out two mutually incompatible views: (1) some saw a land inhabited with diverse classes that could to transform themselves into “great men,”; (2) others saw a land of filth and disease, comprised of people that lived in servitude. Such dichotomous interpretations of the arrival cities continue today.

    In actuality, both views are selective and are not representative of the whole. The former is overly optimistic and ignores the deplorable conditions of the impoverished while the latter frames the inhabitants as nothing more than passive victims. If one does not recognize their shortcomings, then the prescription might respectively be to leave these cities to themselves or eradicate them entirely. Scholars have been able to reassess such views through social mobility techniques. Specifically, they looked at how the generation compared to their parents (intergenerational mobility) and also investigated the changes throughout the course of the generations’ lifetime (intragenerational mobility).

    The findings are illuminating. In the mid-nineteenth century, upward social mobility greatly increased (in England and Whales). However, this accomplishment was only possible through state involvement rather than mere self-help. Indeed, 1848 marked the year when the arrival city was the focus of attention. It is no coincidence that the years of increasing social mobility coincided with the introduction of social welfare, public education, housing reforms, and public education. This is all to say that history offers important insights. Arrival cities of today, these places of transition, should be recognized as centres that require investment, rather than abandoned or demolished.

  15. Abraham Herst says:

    One of the most interesting topics covered in chapter five is the section near the end of the chapter where Saunders examines the history of Toronto and Chicago as arrival cities. As a resident of Toronto and a descendent of someone who immigrated to the area in the late 1800’s reading this section allowed for me to gain a new insight on my personal history as well as the heritage of Toronto.

    Prior to reading this chapter I was quite unaware of the type of shanty town settlement that emerged around what is now considered the outer areas of Toronto. As Saunders accurately points out the image of early 1900s Toronto that most people imagine is one of brownstones like those found in New York. The reality of these semi-permanent settlements without proper infrastructure is something that much more closely resembles the slums of Mumbai, which is a connection made in the chapter. Outside of the obvious similarity in terms of the housing, the similarities seen on the level of infrastructure especially in regards to sanitation and flood safety are both things that are common issues in the slums of Southern Asia as well as other slums all over the world.

    The informality of these early North American settlements is something of particular interest to me since my great grandfather first established himself in one of these semi-permanent settlements near Windsor.

    -Abraham Herst

  16. Eduardo Cardoso says:

    Interestingly, living conditions in the ‘arrival-cities’ of Europe and North America in the 1700s-early 1900s looked a lot like what we see in parts of Asia and Africa today.

    In his book Arrival City: the Final Migration and Our Next World, Author Doug Sanders begins chapter 5 by analysing what happened in Paris, London and the New World, when peasants left their villages to become urbanites.

    Cities were plagued with diseases, especially in the cramped and highly unsanitary conditions of the slum districts where most new arrivals lived. However, those who survived and managed to save some money were able to improve their lives, eventually leaving the slums bound for better neighbourhoods, or leaving the arrival-cities altogether.

    In the less affluent, inner arrondissements of Paris, peasants escaping their famine-blighted villages were the main face of urban poverty. They occupied the city centre, while those of the city-born, upper and middle classes lived in the West. Some of the new arrivals had previously come for temporary work in the city, but the ever-increasing industrial nature and scale of farming pushed the majority of them out of the countryside forever.

    At the same time, throughout Europe, major urban centres such London, Barcelona and Berlin experienced out-of-control growth, with very little government action to address its effects. The author argues that a lack of public policies to improve life in the arrival-cities and rural areas contributed to frequent social unrest in Europe, including the French Revolution.

    Sanders further notes that Europeans who immigrated to the New World were more likely to succeed than others who had simply migrated to an urban centre near their villages. Cities like Toronto and Chicago had as much as one third of their population living in shantytowns but, unlike in Europe, the rate of land ownership was relatively high among the newly arrived poor, a characteristic that helped to increase their upward social mobility.

  17. Daniel Vozis McEvoy says:

    In Chapter 5 of Arrival City, Doug Saunders examines three arrival cities in the West, and how the experience of new arrivals differed in each locale. Unlike his previous chapters, which focus on modern arrival cities in developing nations, these three cities, London, Paris and Toronto, are thriving urban environments in some of the World’s most industrially and technologically advanced nations. By examining how these arrival cities coped with industrialization in centuries past, Saunders gives us insight into the importance of arrival cities in a nation’s development.
    The issue of land ownership is very important when we examine arrival cities and the lives of new arrivals within them. Depending on a city government’s policies, or lack of them, in regards to land use and ownership, the upward mobility of the arrivals are either hampered or aided. This is well illustrated by the comparison of the living arrangements of arrivals in Paris and London with those who settled in and around the city of Toronto. In Paris, the arrivals were left to scramble for accommodations in rented flats that were subdivided and renovated many times, leading to overcrowded and expensive lodgings. Young women such as Miss Bouvier had to live with tightly managed incomes to be able to save enough for their own lodgings, and this could take decades to achieve.
    In London, although there were the Dickensian slums within the city, most of the arrivals landed on the outskirts of the city, as opposed to the city center as in Paris. These newly forming arrival cities centered on the ever expanding rail systems of industrial England, which connected Londoners to surrounding urban and rural areas. Although the locations of the arrival cities differed in both Paris and London, what connects them is the social and class stratification created by these arrival cities. Manual labourers would live in rented accommodations and those who were wealthier such as craftsmen could live in their own houses in the newly built village enclaves of London commuter towns. What is interesting about Toronto is that while there were a mix of social and economic classes arriving during the late 19th century, arrivals could afford to own their own land even if they were poor. The houses they built upon them were often little more than shotgun shacks with dirt floors, but property ownership that was recognized by the Courts, allowed for stability and a level of economic safety.
    To address the problems of slums that were perceived as a social ill and dens of inequity, many social housing schemes were developed at the time to alleviate the burdens of urban poverty. Unfortunately, these plans by governmental and philanthropic bodies were developed in a problematic manner that is being repeated to this day. First, they were inadequate measures that did little to alleviate the scope of the problem. As mentioned on page 285, these schemes only provided for a year’s worth of population growth, leaving many arrival families with no access to social housing. This is similar to Toronto’s approach to public housing needs of the urban poor and new arrivals, which does not take into account the realities of demographic population growth and the increased cost of living associated with residing in an urban core. Secondly, these social housing enclaves were not created in areas of the arrival cities, and had the consequence of increasing social stratification and spatial segregation rather than reducing it. While the city of Toronto is attempting to address this issue of social segregation through renewal projects in areas such as Regent Park, it is too early to tell whether this new effort to created mixed use housing will any less detrimental to the arrival city than previous efforts.

  18. eric says:

    Chapter 5 of Doug Saunders’ Arrival City was the highlight of the book for me. It’s this segment where he explores the origins and differences between arrival cities in different parts of the the developed world. First he examines two arrival cities of Europe, Paris and London. Followed by two in North America, Toronto and Chicago. This was an especially interesting analysis because each arrival city’s development was a result of different structural policy decisions at higher levels of government, and regional trends which oriented urban development. Also, these cities are linked to notions of poverty or development. This chapter connects the themes of the book (which often focus on political instabilities foreign to the modern developed world) to the wealthy developed cities of the Global North that we call home, reminding us that the streets we walk were once very different.
    While examining the development of the arrival city in Paris and London, Saunders’ first distinction is the lack of ‘parcelization’ in France. The English enclosures of the 16th and 17th centuries created forced hundreds of thousands into the cities very rapidly. The were forced to migrate as only cities could guarantee work via raw labour. In France however, the legislative body did not so quickly bestow the aristocracy with commoners land allowing peasantry to proliferate for much longer. This came at a political cost however. As the population continued to climb the inefficient parcelized land sustenance food production model was unable to meet the demands of urban dwellers sparking riots and feeding into the general malaise of citizens which led to the French Revolution. Saunders boldly notes that the arrival city in England was a sudden onset and a direct result of a rapid retooling of society. The birth of capitalism via the privatization of land and industrialization of factories created England’s arrival cities. While in France, the arrival city was a hotbed of political instability, buckling under the pressure of growth and stuck within an archaic system of goverence which was designed for a decentralized rural population.
    The arrival cities of North America were even more different according to Saunders. Toronto and Chicago, just two of many in NA were destinations in their own right. The migrants which flooded into these cities were not just coming from a rural place, but from other urban centres in Europe. This created a very different dynamic in these cities. The difference was driven by the NA city’s ability to better guarantee social mobility. With up to 60% of residents owning their own homes the next generation was almost certainly better off than the last. Saunders presents Toronto and Chicago as frontiers with limited baggage while London and Paris are already bloated when they begin transformations. This combined with the differing approaches to development; capitalism in England and status quo in France produced very different arrival city experiences in all examined cities which for the most part, now seem immune to such struggles.

  19. I’ve rarely seen a mature debate about immigration, I think the media have allowed biased neoliberal voices to shout down any positive immigration fact from being discussed or of the right-wing figures to be debunked, which the likes of Jonathon Portes have attempted to educate us with. Most of the issues around immigration are relatively minor, and every independent piece of evidence proves what the trouble is, that this subject is surrounded with masses of hyperbole and exaggeration, which is leading to actual racism.

    When does an ‘immigrant’ become a ‘native’?? All of us were immigrants at one time in the recent or distant past. Especially all white Americans, South Americans, Africans, Australians. How does their immigration policy sit with the fact that they just waltzed in and took over?

    Europe is dying its natural death. It needs more and more immigrants to keep their societies alive. Without migration, European societies and economies would bleed to death.

    The shocking level of targeting of the Muslim community of Birmingham is indicative of the normalisation of the dehumanisation of the Muslims of Britain. Under the pretext of “extremism”, criminal undemocratic and unethical abuse of public institutions and the Muslims of the UK can occur without much accountability. This pervasive attitude, especially amongst officials like Michael Gove needs to change. Our schools are truly trying to develop our children to do well at schools so later in life they are able to stand on their own two feet, but if we stop our schools from doing this than our country will have up rise of unemployment, benefit issues, crime levels high, I think its time for you apologize and allow practitioners to do their job right.

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