CH 10: Arriving in style

Photo by Theo Baart
Photo by Theo Baart

gerben_helleman blackwhite

Gerben Helleman is an urban geographer from the Netherlands. At the moment, he works at a housing association that provides homes for those who would not otherwise be able to obtain housing on the open market, where he focuses on urban/neighbourhood regeneration and livability in and around residential complexes. Since 2011, Gerben has written about different urban issues as a freelance writer as well as on his own blog,  Urban Spingtime. Gerben’s blog is about the interface and connections between the Planned and the Lived city, and he writes about the beautiful, funny and exciting sides of the city. Read more about Gerben here

Gerben Helleman on Arrival City Chapter 10: Arriving in style

The need for precision

Immigration in the Netherlands

The Netherlands is a densely populated country in the Northwest of Europe with 17 million inhabitants. After the Second World War a lot of Dutch households from the countryside moved to cities like Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague. In the 1960s and 1970s these cities were faced with international labour-motivated migration, especially from Suriname (former colony), Dutch Antilles (an autonomous Caribbean country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands), Turkey and Morocco. In the last few years migrants from new member countries within the European Union (Poland, Romania and Bulgaria) have made their appearance.

Similarities

In general, the immigration and settlement processes in the Netherlands do not differ much from the other countries which are described in Arrival City. In this part of the world, newcomers also prefer to settle near nationals or even fellow villagers. They are trying to find a fit between their own traditions (language, religion) and Dutch society. Some newcomers consider the cities a gateway and move – when they can – to the suburbs where they find new housing and more security for their kids. Others stay, root and acclimatize in the city, drawn by the ambience, the smells, amenities, and dynamics of the city. For some the urban environment works as an emancipation machine, for others the springboard doesn’t work.

Differences

An important difference with other countries is the context in which the migrants arrive. ‘Arriving in style’ might be a bit exaggerated, but there are some certainties, privileges and advantages in the Netherlands that can make life just a little bit easier on arrival. The Netherlands is developed, properly organized and regulated from above. Government takes care of utilities, infrastructure, public space and facilities such as schools, libraries and community centres. The government also helps through grants, fees and assistance in poverty reduction, for example.

So there is a lot of social assistance and arrangements. If the arrival city in the developing world is a place where you climb the socioeconomic ladder, you can speak of an escalator in this part of the World.

The planned versus the lived city

In other words: planning, organizing and social engineering abound in the Netherlands. This orderliness and intervention from above is also present in the way housing is managed, for example. Besides the advantages there are also a number of drawbacks. When so many things are organized and settled, citizens can get somewhat complacent, causing some to sit back. But more importantly due to the level of regulation there is (or there seems) less room for small, spontaneous initiatives that can respond faster and are cheaper and better suited to the ever-changing needs of city dwellers. So, the escalator falters sometimes.

Stagnation

In this context the story of the Dutch Somali is interesting. A considerable part of the Dutch Somali community experienced such high levels of coercion, limitation, and deprivation of liberty in The Netherlands, that they decided to migrate to Great Britain. According to them, the Dutch migration policy is so patronizing that migrants are not stimulated to show initiative with regard to education or labour participation (Van den Reek & Hussein, 2003). This in contrast with the British situation where economic activity is less constrained by rules and laws (see also chapter one).

Struggle

This conflict can be summarized by the distinction between the planned and the lived city, a struggle that you see in more European countries and which also surfaces in the book on occasion. Wouter Vanstiphout (2011), professor of Design and Politics at the Technical University Delft wrote a wonderful article about the riots in Paris (2005) and England (2011) in which he nicely sums up this contrast: “I do not think that […] politics and planning have realized their limitations to shape society. I think […] that urban politics and hence planning and urban design are too often treating the city with ulterior motives, instead of actually working for the city itself. […] Treating the city in this way means that we are constantly passing judgment on what the city should be, and who should be there, and what they should be doing, instead of trying to understand what the city actually is, who really lives there and what they are doing.”

Giving space

That being said, Saunders has a point when he mentions that arrival cities in the Netherlands were planned from above (outside) for far too long. An immigrant neighbourhood that grows organically, evolves over time, deviates from the “average” and benefits from an informal economy goes against the grain for most urban planners.

Precise analysis

Arrival City shows that this tussle is not unique for the Netherlands. In many countries there is a disagreement about the analysis, the vision and the preferred approach for what a migrant neighbourhood should look like. In terms of analysis, for example, some prefer to look at general national, regional, metropolitan or neighbourhood figures. But should you compare countries or cities with each other on the same temporal reference date? And should you compare your district with the urban average, or with a similar district in another city? Others prefer – like Saunders – to follow the individual outcome.

But the starting point you choose will have quite an influence on what conclusions you will draw. For example, if you look at The Netherlands from a distance (in time and scale) you see the same upward social mobility for newcomers as we saw among the native-born population after the Second World War. The sons and daughters of the first generation of immigrants are doing much ‘better’ than their parents. This is a positive trend and one should conclude that the process of social mobility is therefore a matter of time (and generations). But if you zoom in on some individual events (the murder of a filmmaker in Amsterdam, conscription of Jihad fighters in different Dutch cities) and the fierce debates and discriminatory public opinions, your conclusion will be less positive for the integration issue.

Clear vision

On a neighbourhood level I often miss a good analysis of the function of a neighbourhood in a city (or region) and an approach consistent with that role and identity. Saunders makes a good point that many settlement strategies don’t recognize (or, in some cases, even destroy) the rural-to-urban dynamics at work, and fail to leverage the function of these springboard or gateway communities.

The main issue is that too many people don’t understand the paradox of arrival cities (see also chapter three). Neighbourhood statistics say nothing about the career of a single household. To explain this I always use the metaphor of a primary school. Every year ‘dumb’ kids come in and ‘smart’ kids go. But the school remains just as smart (or dumb). So, there is nothing wrong with this school, so why interpret an arrival city differently?

Saunders sums up this issue very well when he is describing what kind of place Thorncliffe Park (Toronto) is: “It is, depending how you view it, either a successful antechamber to urban life or a place of dangerous isolation and poverty”. That is exactly the bone of contention. None of them are true, mostly it’s a mix, but in most (political) discussions there is no room for nuance. As a consequence, every supporter or opponent of arrival cities seeks his own statistics, stories and incidents to support his or her opinion (Table 1).

Table 1 – For or against exclusive (immigrant) neighbourhoods?
For or against immigrant neighborhoods

Effective approach

Even though I have my preference, the one side in the diagram is not automatically better or worse than the other. I plead for a more thoroughly and balanced analysis, vision and approach in which problems aren’t trivialized and opportunities aren’t ignored.

Prerequisite

Let’s go back to the metaphor of the primary school. To function well, it is important that this ‘school’ is properly equipped with good teachers and a leak proof building. That is exactly the task of governments: to keep the emancipation machine working. Sometimes this means physical adaptations to the housing stock, or adding (public) transport links, but mostly it means supporting social processes. Language skills are the first priority. Fortunately, in recent years Dutch municipalities have invested a lot of time and money in evening classes for adults and preschool facilities where kids as young as two and a half years old can learn the Dutch language.

Colourblind?

The government should also focus on education in general. Labour market disparities are caused mostly by differences in education (opportunities). An effort which should of course not be limited to the arrival cities. The goal is optimum opportunities for development, regardless of race, income level or family history. But if you want effective and efficient policy you should also take into account to some extent the differences. Especially on the neighbourhood level one should recognize that libraries, schools with adult education, meeting places and small, cheap business properties are of greater values in migrant communities than elsewhere. In this way immigrants can become full city citizens.

By Gerben Helleman

This is a summary of an article about ‘Immigration and migrant neighbourhoods in the Netherlands‘ that was recently published on the blog Urban Springtime.

References
Gerben Helleman & Frank Wassenberg (2004) The renewal of what was tomorrow’s idealistic city. Amsterdam’s Bijlmermeer high-rise. In: Cities, Volume 21, Issue 1, Pages 3–17.
Gerben Helleman (2014) Arrival City. Blog Urban Springtime.
Gerben Helleman (2011) To be or not to be? Blog Urban Springtime.
Esther van den Reek & Adan Igeh Hussein (2003) Somaliers op doorreis. Tilburg: University of Tilburg.
Wouter Vanstiphout (2011) Back to normal? Building Design Online.

17 Comments Add yours

  1. Adam says:

    Chapter 10 of Saunders’ Arrival City book challenged my traditional knowledge and beliefs about how to plan urban setting effectively, how government can properly allocate services and infrastructure, and also to how we as outsiders generally come to perceive arrival cities inadequately and improperly. Throughout the book, I battled with the idea that many of today’s contemporary arrival cities still operate in subpar conditions despite many of them being situated near or within the most advanced and modern metropolises worldwide. I questioned how an area such as Thorncliffe Park could operate as its own unique city space despite being within the parameters of the larger Toronto region, or how such an area could remain as a poor neighborhood for such prolonged amounts of time, as surrounding areas continued to prosper. Although echoed throughout the entire book, Chapter 10 of Saunders’ Arrival City really affirmed for me the answers to these questions. The arrival city is by no means an extension on the edges of the original city, but it is rather a unique and multi-dimensional area that serves to define the social, economic, political, and cultural makeup of the entire city itself. In their attempt to become accepted by the larger city and society, arrival cities are actually re-defining how our entire cities as a whole come to operate and function. In this essence it becomes crucial to not emphasize a contradiction of cultures but rather embrace a ‘de-planning’ notion that seeks to allow new arrivals to thrive from the unique flexibility that their arrival city communities offer them. Flexibility in the physical design, politics, business and social networking of the arrival cities is what sparks innovation and encourages mobility of all forms- social, economic or political. In knowing this, government needs to be looked upon to act not as an authoritative decision-maker but as an opportunity-maker, who can provide the tools to encourage support. Initial investments made by government to spark spontaneity or density within arrival cities can ultimately pay dividends through the social capital gained or violence avoided. What I find has been overlooked by government, as Saunders’ mentions, is that arrival cities may not necessarily be in need of massive redevelopment or modernization, and that the simplest of services, such as street lights, buses, or the building of five story buildings with storefronts, actually have the most priority and benefit within arrival neighborhoods. Instead of making judgments or enforcing policies from the outside, governments can become actively involved in providing the support to ensure neighborhoods don’t become places of fear or isolation. As in the case of Bogotá, there is also no reason to procrastinate in building spaces for arrival, even if the arrival citizens haven’t come yet. Ultimately, urban migration and city arrival is in full force worldwide, and the ability for cities to succeed in accommodating these incomers hinges on the decisions made by government today.

  2. Zachary Erickson-Henderson says:

    The first part of the chapter focuses on Pedro’s family, explaining the history of Jardim Angela before focusing on the evolution of Brazil’s new arrival-city middle class. While issues of poverty and drug abuse still plague the neighbourhood, Jardim Angela represents a fundamental shift towards modernity and peace thanks to economic development brought forward but its growing connection to the city government. Most importantly people now own homes and have the ability to start businesses which has played a key role in pulling people into the middle class. As the author points out Jardim Angela’s transformation really represents this key question of what makes the journey from a rural shack to the centre of middle-class urban life possible? What this all connects to, in my opinion, is the essential component of the ownership of property. This, in combination with the active presence of normal city institutions and functions, is key in turning a slum into a thriving and prosperous neighbourhood. After years of gang violence and drug trafficking favela finally worked on developing its own grassroots municipal government with a focus on security, education, and a proper link to the larger city both physically and economically. Education played a significant role in creating new opportunities for both kids and adults who wished to avoid or leave the life of gangs and drugs. The shift towards community-based policing opposed to the oppressive and violent practices of the past played an important role in generating greater trust within the community and with the police force. Suddenly Jardim Angela was becoming an integral part of Saeo Paulo and as a result the city government began to invest in things like public transit, medical clinics, and micro-credit agencies which encouraged people to stay and improve the neighbourhood.

    A lot of this chapter focuses on the importance of the middle class development and the implications a strong middle class can have in improving the overall quality of a society. Things like socio-economic mobility, supporting of small business, long-term credit/loans, education, and infrastructure development are required in order to create a thriving arrival city which supports economic development and middle-class growth. The growth of the middle-class and the overall quality of an arrival city is a complicated process which requires a multitude of factors to be met. In the end though it all comes back to the importance of the ownership of property and the leverage that can give people in pushing themselves out of the lower income dominator and into the middle-class.

    The case of the Parab family in Mumbai highlights some of the major issues of many arrival cities which can work to prevent the growth and expansion of the middle-class. This includes things like illiberal property markets and underdeveloped credit markets which work at preventing people from leaving slums and improving their lives. This case study also reinforces the importance of full legal ownership of property as being the secret to establishing success for urban arrivals. The Parab’s family ownership of property was the main reason which granted them to ability to move just past the middle-class threshold. Formal ownership of property has given people the ability to invest in and secure their land, giving them a secure space to call their own. This secure space is invaluable in giving people the ability to now collect additional assets like education and a job or some kind of income which will continue to increase their capabilities and give them a greater ability to improve their place in life. However while land ownership is invaluable, the existence of other factors like government funding of services and supports is also required, as the author points. Social mobility needs to be created in order to allow people to properly use the benefits of their land ownership.

    In the end the main themes that can be drawn from this chapter are the importance of a strong free market which supports land entitlements and private property and a strong assertive government which is willing to invest in communities, ensuring a smooth and successful transition to a middle-class arrival city.

  3. Hana says:

    Chapter ten of Doug Sanders’ Arrival City delves into the factors that make or break the potential successes of the arrival city – namely, ill-designed urban forms or economic structures. In the case of Slotervaart, a neighbourhood in the far western part of Amsterdam, rigid government planning and strict zoning laws actually served to turn the area into a dangerous immigrant enclave. The mixed low-rise buildings separated by large public squares served the ideology of “Le Corbusier”, whereby areas of working, living, and recreation should be functionally separated. While this design was intended to create clean urban organization, it actually operated as a tool of segregation, whereby newly arrived migrants found themselves cut off from the city’s enterprises. This caused many second-generation rural-migrants, experiencing an upbringing of aimlessness and isolation, to become more radicalized. It was only when the neighbourhood underwent an enormous transformation, which included more densely built infrastructure, more relaxed business and licensing laws, and greater mixed-income housing, did the area begin to see improvements. Thus, fixing the shape and form of Slotervaart not only created a greater physical and economic bond with the wider city, but it also solved numerous other root-caused problems (such as extremism) that occur as a result of a failed arrival city.

    On the other side of the Atlantic, Thorncliffe Park, a densely populated area in the central-East of Toronto, Canada, is experiencing its own arrival city successes. Though often characterized as a place of dangerous isolation and poverty, Thorncliffe has often served as a springboard or gateway community for people journeying to the middle-class. As Saunders points out, the more successful neighbourhoods like Thorncliffe are, the higher their apparent poverty, because “If people are able to leave within a generation for more prosperous middle-class homeowner district, the neighbourhood will be constantly refilled with new migrants from poor rural regions”. What makes immigrants settle here is not its isolation, but rather its very accessible pathways to the city. Unlike the original design of Slotervaart, Thorncliffe is well connected by transit routes, it has access to a large primary school within its borders, and it has a good job market with potential entrepreneurial ventures. Furthermore, the area is subject to significant investment and attention by the state.

    The point to be emphasized throughout this chapter is that urban neighbourhoods should be permitted to grow, change, and develop functions as their residents’ desire, without restriction on usage, intensity or change. As Saunders’ notes, “It is, as each family’s experience shows, an accumulation of people who want more than anything to become an accepted part of the whole”. The emphasis is that neighbourhood need to be spontaneous, organic and flexible in order to promote the city life of city people. When given privately owned spaces an access to the street, it gives the community a sense of self-surveillance and security. In this sense, the arrival city is not simply adding itself onto the edges of the city it is defining the social and economic makeup of the city itself.

    At this point in the novel, it is evident that rural-migrants who arrive in cities need the help of the state, but what is most important for the success of arrival cities are the tools to become normal urban communities. Simple additions, such as sewage, garbage collections, paved roads, public transportation, and streetlights, can serve to make a tangible difference in both the security and property value of the area. While these additions tend to require upfront investments by the municipality, there is not doubt that many of the most successful instances of slum-development projects (such as the Brazilian favelas) come as a result of expensive but reliable rebuilding and social services endeavours. In this sense, arrival cities don’t necessarily require massive redevelopment, but rather stable support from the state to provide new migrants with the right to self-determination and a clear path to the middle-class.

  4. This chapter of Arrival City shifted my understanding of successful urban development of arrival cities, and the means of achieving success. A key component of transformation is working with the successful components of the arrival city from within the arrival city, rather than imposing management techniques from the outside that are based on the distinctly different needs of non-arrival cities. Most importantly, Saunders’ emphasizes that while there is not one clear-cut “solution” to the issues facing arrival cities, these areas and their inhabitants should be provided with the tools necessary to create success for themselves for generations to come.

    The concept of “de-planning” in Slotervaart is interesting because, as is mentioned in the book, this approach is by no means traditional in urban planning. The traditional low-intensity, highly-zoned approach has clearly been unsuccessful in neighbourhoods populated mostly by migrants, so the approach taken in Slotervaart is appealing in its opposition to that tradition. Saunders’ suggests that spontaneity and flexibility are contributors to successful urban neighbourhoods. This relates to this larger idea that arrival city neighbourhoods should not be managed from the outside, but allowed to develop and change on their own, governed by the people inhabiting the space.

    In the arrival city of Karail, on the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh, it is clear that they need outside help to build the infrastructure for necessary amenities, and to be given the tools to achieve success as a self-governing arrival city. In the example of this arrival city, Saunders returns to a theme from throughout the book, that arrival cities are impoverished and fail in certain areas because of the fact that outsiders misunderstand them, leading them to receive improper aid, or to simply be ignored or destroyed.

    A key perspective I take away from this chapter is the importance of realizing the potential of the arrival city and its value when allowed to succeed and flourish. Governments must realize the value of the arrival city in order to find them worth the cost of aiding them in becoming successful. Their value can only be understood when governments understand their function, how they work, and what they need to be successful. Saunders concludes that their success “will work only if we stop ignoring those awkward neighbourhoods on the edge of town”.

  5. The last chapter in Arrival City by Douglas Saunders really challenges perspectives about what is considered an efficient way to plan urban settings. Many factors are needed to be considered by governments in order to ensure a balance within the urban centre. These factors range anywhere from allocation of resources, economic development and creation of adequate infrastructure. The chapter goes in depth to explain that infrastructure and economic systems are key to determining the success of an arrival city. At large a city that segregates different cultural groups into small areas, often find themselves in midst of higher crimes rates and more chances of people becoming more radicalized. Douglas Saunders then proposes this idea of “de-planning” where arrival cities are less planned, less orderly and less preordained, in doing so it creates a greater physical and economic bond with the wider city and more over solves many other problems that lead to arrival cities failing. Less planned cities have the ability to create an internal economy, at first based on low-level shops and services, but eventually developing a lower middle class. It also develops a functioning property market for those migrants whose business succeed enough to let them buy their apartments. This will attract middle class from the “outside” who will ideally blend with the emerging middle class. Saunders believes that this will help Soltervaart become a place with integrated student groups with influential parents and in return the school system will strive to perform better and attract the best teachers.
    His discussion leads one to realize the importance of integrating migrants with the rest of society, in doing so as a city one avoids many problems such as poverty and an increase in crime rates. Segregations leads migrants to become radicalized, which increases the chances of violence to be prevalent amongst these people. It also leads to failure of arrival cities because these migrants are living on the edge with the no chance of economic, political and social development. When there is no chance of economic development, people fall deeper into poverty and fail to lead a stable and successful life. Isolation from the rest of society prevents these people from fully achieving their goals. Development stagnates when migrants are isolated from adequate economic benefits and infrastructure. Saunders discusses how the school system in Soltervaart were not providing migrant students with adequate education. Moreover the lack of a proper system implemented to support these migrants forced them into poverty. Poverty within urban centres happen due to many reasons, one of the main reason is the lack of adequate housing. For example Toronto has a huge problem with adequate housing for the poor which leaves many people to become homeless. Moreover Saunders points out that arrival cities can advance with government providing these cities with basic functioning infrastructure, these cities do not require their cities to be restructured. Lastly it also brings back to emphasizing the importance of efficient urban planning, for a city filled with migrants it is important to make sure there is affordable housing available to them. Moreover arrival cities plagued by poverty and high crime rates will not prosper or grow, rather they will sooner or later wither away. Governments must realize the importance of these cities to become truly successful.

  6. Noor Shahid says:

    The last chapter in Arrival City by Douglas Saunders really challenges perspectives about what is considered an efficient way to plan urban settings. Many factors are needed to be considered by governments in order to ensure a balance within the urban centre. These factors range anywhere from allocation of resources, economic development and creation of adequate infrastructure. The chapter goes in depth to explain that infrastructure and economic systems are key to determining the success of an arrival city. At large a city that segregates different cultural groups into small areas, often find themselves in midst of higher crimes rates and more chances of people becoming more radicalized. Douglas Saunders then proposes this idea of “de-planning” where arrival cities are less planned, less orderly and less preordained, in doing so it creates a greater physical and economic bond with the wider city and more over solves many other problems that lead to arrival cities failing. Less planned cities have the ability to create an internal economy, at first based on low-level shops and services, but eventually developing a lower middle class. It also develops a functioning property market for those migrants whose business succeed enough to let them buy their apartments. This will attract middle class from the “outside” who will ideally blend with the emerging middle class. Saunders believes that this will help Soltervaart become a place with integrated student groups with influential parents and in return the school system will strive to perform better and attract the best teachers.
    His discussion leads one to realize the importance of integrating migrants with the rest of society, in doing so as a city one avoids many problems such as poverty and an increase in crime rates. Segregations leads migrants to become radicalized, which increases the chances of violence to be prevalent amongst these people. It also leads to failure of arrival cities because these migrants are living on the edge with the no chance of economic, political and social development. When there is no chance of economic development, people fall deeper into poverty and fail to lead a stable and successful life. Isolation from the rest of society prevents these people from fully achieving their goals. Development stagnates when migrants are isolated from adequate economic benefits and infrastructure. Saunders discusses how the school system in Soltervaart were not providing migrant students with adequate education. Moreover the lack of a proper system implemented to support these migrants forced them into poverty. Poverty within urban centres happen due to many reasons, one of the main reason is the lack of adequate housing. For example Toronto has a huge problem with adequate housing for the poor which leaves many people to become homeless. Moreover Saunders points out that arrival cities can advance with government providing these cities with basic functioning infrastructure, these cities do not require their cities to be restructured. Lastly it also brings back to emphasizing the importance of efficient urban planning, for a city filled with migrants it is important to make sure there is affordable housing available to them. Moreover arrival cities plagued by poverty and high crime rates will not prosper or grow, rather they will sooner or later wither away. Governments must realize the importance of these cities to ecome truly successful.

  7. David Pepkowski says:

    Cities have a way of reflecting the human creative imagination. In Doug Saunders’ tenth chapter in Arrival he begins by discussing the Dutch neighbourhood Slotervaart. The planning of the area seemed ideal. An example of how life could be. Ironically, what made the plan seem so perfect is also why it didn’t work. That plan for the “Garden city” is in itself an expression of imagination and spontaneity. The problem is that creativity in the plan translated into a stagnant reality. The neighbourhood was strictly zoned and inorganic. It could only be perfect for a moment. Soon the neighbourhood is realized to be undesirable. People who can leave it will. It becomes a destination for only those who have little other choice. This can be manifested in having a high immigrant population. It can be many of the same group migrating for the same reasons as the Moroccans who moved to the Netherlands. This resulted in an unintentional segregation. The subculture that developed was something new. It wasn’t a consequence of heritage. Rather it was a consequence of growing up and living where no one wanted to live but most importantly in the Netherlands it was a place that was not Dutch. Enclaves or neighbourhoods with higher concentrations of immigrant or otherwise specific cultures can exist without issue. Canada can be cited as a good example of this. It is important that it becomes part of the city. In a sense that is what a city really is; a high concentration of different people, places, and things all interconnecting.

  8. Kris Sukhlal says:

    When discussing chapter 10 of Doug Saunders’ Arrival City, one of the important perspectives that I have taken away from this focus upon the timing of a city’s success and it’s overall potential. It also ties into the planning of urban settings which detail many factors throughout the chapter, some of which include infrastructure development, resource distribution and allocation along with economic advancement. An important aspect that was evident throughout this chapter by Saunders included the development of the middle class and the effect it can have upon the quality and development of a city as a whole. These factors seemed to be dependent on property ownership and those belonging in the lower class finding a way to improve themselves in terms of the lower income denominator. In chapter 10 of Saunders’ Arrival City, it is mentioned that he feels cities are not necessarily in need of a massive development but more in need of simple infrastructure within the city consisting of common factors throughout many cities. Some of these factors that have been referred to include storefront businesses such as convenience stores, street lights and public transit buses. This seems to be more needed instead of the implementation of policies by the government as it helps in the everyday functions of a city.

  9. Christine Anandappa says:

    Chapter 10 of Arrival City gives the reader an understanding of both successful and unsuccessful urban development in arrival cities. It also changed my perspective on exclusive immigrant neighbourhoods. I always thought that a mixed neighbourhood, of immigrants and non-immigrants, would help newcomers better integrate into society, promote diversity and signify a point of inclusion. This chapter shows how integration and social mobility can transpire through supportive neighbourhood connections within exclusive immigrant neighbourhoods. The prerequisite needed for this to occur is freedom and flexibility for residents in the urban neighbourhood in terms of its design and function. This relates to the concept of “de-planning”. Saunders uses the urban neighbourhood of Thorncliffe Park, an arrival city within Toronto, Canada, to illustrate this concept.

    De-planning is necessary in urban neighbourhoods and arrival cities, as it provides autonomy for residents to change the functions of the neighbourhood, according to their needs. This allows for growth and innovation, as residents can become business owners and provide services to help one another within the arrival city. Saunders explains how Thorncliffe Park is not just a place of residence, but also provides opportunity for recreation and work. This shows how flexibility in urban function through de-planning, can help residents cater to their needs. Saunders also points out that in terms of government provision, services and infrastructure are also necessary in partnership with the de-planning process. This includes social services and public transit that help connect new migrants and the arrival city to the greater city. On the contrary, Saunders demonstrates how neighbourhoods that involve strict zoning laws and planning, on part of the government, are unsuccessful arrival cities as there is no opportunity for growth and development within this rigidity. This is illustrated with the example of a neighbourhood in Amsterdam called Slotevaart. Without the flexibility in terms of urban function, residents became isolated and were not experiencing social mobility through this arrival city.

    Thorncliffe Park is often viewed as a “dangerous” and poor neighbourhood in the perspective of outsiders within the city. Saunders demonstrates how this neighbourhood can also be viewed as a place for transition and integration as well: “It is, depending how you view it, either a successful antechamber to urban life or a place of dangerous isolation and poverty”. To me, this quote demonstrates the polarized perspectives of those within the arrival city juxtaposed to outsiders. Saunders explains how an arrival city that remains poor can signify the success of the arrival city and its migrants. It is often a sign of growth and transition, since people may be moving out of the arrival city in pursuits of first-time homeownership, and being replaced by new migrants to continue the cycle. This illustrates Thorncliffe Park as a gateway community or a place of transition for new arrivals into society.

  10. Ali says:

    In the final chapter “Arriving in Style”, Saunders uses Slotervaart, Karail and Thorncliffe Park as illustrations of how arrival cities are able to be successful transitory settlements where residents are able to create networks, find jobs, and consistently enter the middleclass urban mainstream within a generation (p.314). He stresses this possibility has higher chances of success and prosperity only when government intervenes and addresses gaps in specific needs according to the region. It challenges previous errors and assumptions surrounding how government should direct their aid, such as, zoning and segregated high level apartments.

    In Slovervaart, intensifying security and police, ensuring youth were attending school, and improving ‘dismal’ schools and services created a shift in the community where in a matter of five years shop filled markets, better roads and infrastructures were built in a manner that allowed for higher population density. This ensured that social cohesions and prosperity would not be sacrificed. Creating and sustaining ‘High intensity’ (which refers to the level of human activity in a region) that incorporate mixed-use districts have proven to be more successful as it allows for spontaneity of personal agencies among residents. As Saunders cites, World Bank economists found improvements in vital aspects of life, (security, medicine, health and transportation) when “slums communities develop effective, Non corrupt democratic governments from the inside” (p.300). Similarly, Kairail expressed a need for secure and flood-proof foundations for houses and paved streets, schools and childcare, and sanitation. All of which were only able to be started with the intervention of government. Thorncliffe was successful because “it has been the subject of significant investment and attention by the state” (p.316). It has had consistent waves of immigrants over the decades that consistently prove how much of an impact having access to well serviced transit, schools, and the opportunity to start small businesses with “low rentals and start-up costs” has on building prosperity and permanence. Global governments that practice bulldozing arrival cities and struggling with a way to deal with enclaves of marginalized individuals on the edges of cities must continue to look to these cities as examples of success and replicate their strategies of inclusive planning.

  11. C. Farrell says:

    I really enjoyed the first part of chapter 10 Saunders which illustrates the importance of arrival cities being dense, having the freedom to be spontaneous in their growth/development, and being able to govern themselves. The story of Mohamed Mallaouch’s arrival in Slotervaart, Amsterdam is an example of how strict zoning in city planning can be detrimental to an arrival city. When Mohamed first arrived he said that it seemed like the perfect place to live for but once he settled in he realized how poorly designed it was really was. Slotervaart was essentially a designated migrant area that had become crime ridden and disconnected from everything else. The children of migrants were not learning how to integrate (because of a lack of schooling and Dutch language being taught) and the people were not engaging in Dutch culture or participating fully in Dutch society because of this isolation. The crime in Slotervaart gained notoriety in all of western Europe and eventually it lead to the creation of some local governance that would dramatically alter it. The first City Council chairman used his power to increase police presence and engagement in the community and also got rid of the the strict and isolated zoning of the city (“urban de-planning”). Slotervaart was then able to grow more naturally and spontaneously which improved the social and economic welfare of the people, much like what the neighbourhood of Bijlmermeer in Amsterdamn has had success with already. Saunder then argues that these are prime examples of why the intensity of arrival cities is key for successful arrival cities because low-intensity development (which urban planners seem to favour) creates this cultural/physical isolation seen while discouraging activity and spontaneity for growth. Saunders mentions urbanist Jane Jacobs who said that urban neighbourhoods “should be treated as organic entities, permitted to grow, change and develop functions as their residents desire, without restrictions on usage, intensity or change” which I believe is key for developed arrival cities to keep in mind when they are planning and/or attempting to govern them from the outside or are creating a space for them to settle in the future. Although this is idea is also idealistic because in reality it is very expensive and complex to govern and plan a city. Ultimately self-governance is arguably the most vital for making positive changes within arrival cities/neighbourhoods because they have a better understanding of the residents’ wants and needs for prosperity and happiness.

    In the second part Saunders talks about how land value, connectivity, and security are crucial for some arrival cities in the more poor areas of the world. He uses the example of Maksuda Begum’s life Karail, Bangladesh which is a slum that is very dense but also very fragile environmentally and economically. Saunders believes that it has the potential to be a successful arrival city if had more outside government involvement for infrastructure and development. It is far less advanced than Slotervaart so it desperately needs outside help and foreign aid. He then talks about how slum-upgrading planning can improve arrival cities by building more infrastructure that is long lasting and gives residents some livelihood, and also how setting up things like water/electricity and land plots before migrants arrive can be beneficial, but costly. Even something as simple as street lights for security can be a major help to these types of arrival cities as well.

    In the final part of the chapter Saunders uses Thorncliffe Park as an example of some arrival cities can serve as function of as a first link to a major city for migrants who are generally not wealthy and not comfortable with moving into a community where there is less of a culture shock. You could argue that these sort of areas are crucial for big cities even though they are poor and often have lots of crime because they help migrants integrate gradually because they are not completely isolated like Slotervaart. Thorncliffe Park has also become a city itself and not just an arrival city to pass through, which is what all arrival cities should strive for long-term.This chapter definitely gave me a new perspective about living in Toronto and the many arrival communities it has to offer. I have always been proud of our city being so culturally diverse but this book has made me appreciate how it was founded and how it continues to grow and what makes an arrival city successful.

  12. zalrb says:

    The beginning of this chapter, although set a few years back, honestly seems to address what is happening today in the world with Muslims. It seems as though this chapter was written a couple of months ago to address the rise of extremism in the West. The chapter starts off by outlining the shock that Mohammad faces when he leaves Morocco and gradually outlines the living situation, education and socio- economic status of the Muslims there. He explains that the arrival city is segregated from the rest of the country. From this account, a quote resonated with me and it is as follows “you have a system that forces people to live outside of it, to see the system only from the outside and never participate”. I find this extremely relevant to the living conditions of some Muslims in the West. A lot are shocked at the reality of the world outside of their home countries and as a result they choose to live in isolation rather than integrate.

    In another interesting quote he outlines that “the people here live the contradictions between the two cultures, without being a member of either one”. This is true only for the people who choose to live this way, refusing to compromise one of their identities. The Muslims who cannot create a balance between the two cultures which would allow them to integrate into society and still maintain a unique religious/cultural identity, cannot become a member of either one. This, along with dire circumstances, lack of education and isolation often more than not creates or acts as the catalyst of fundamentalism. The chapter outlines this by stating that should a socioeconomic component not be at stake, then the ethnic component would be less interesting. In Amsterdam, the problem according to Saunders was segregation which is directly related to income levels. Ideologies and attitudes are shaped by the physical nature of the surroundings. I couldn’t agree more with this point, the way an individual acts is a reflection of their surroundings. If they are uneducated, segregated and isolated from society it easily results in ignorance and hate.

    Furthermore, another reason I enjoyed this chapter is because it started with the point of view I outlined above but also worked to create a counter argument. The author outlines that segregation actually deters violent extremism. Two scholars looked at Islamic Terrorism among immigrant groups and found that it was far lower among arrival city inhabitants. Often they rose from second generation youth who live in arrival cities. I do want to outline that these youth are high school dropouts and generally uneducated, or so this was the case in Amsterdam. I also want to take this opportunity to address some of the issues the West is now facing with extremism, specifically foreign fighters. Although some of these people are educated, that is they are doctors or engineers they have absolutely no knowledge of the true teachings of Islam. Several newspaper articles have reported that these fighters have been downloading “Islam for Dummies” books to learn the basics of their religion. The beginning of this chapter outlined that the majority of the youth dropped out of high school, they often more than not remain without a job, education and live in dire circumstances.

    Personally, I think these movements arise out of pure ignorance which as I outlined above is a result of an array of factors, one of them being segregation. Segregation alone cannot explain the issue and neither does lack of education. There are millions of educated Muslims living in dire living conditions who do not flock to join these extremist groups. Of course the reason for the rise of these extremist groups today is beyond the scope of this reflection and beyond the scope of my knowledge. I really am glad though that this chapter spoke of this issue because I see it as an opportunity to highlight and reiterate the ignorance of these groups when it comes to the teachings of Islam, they do not represent Muslims in no shape or form. As far as the chapter goes, I think the author did a great job outlining multiple factors that possibly explain these groups. However as this refection highlighted, the issue is not easily identifiable, nor are the factors that create these groups easily recognizable. All in all though, this chapter did not fail to amaze and captivate me with its quotes!

  13. Sophie Vijayasinkam says:

    Doug sanders starts off this chapter introducing Mohammed Mallouch who arrives at a destination where the city looked advanced. He puts it as a “lego city” where there are low apartments which are wider by width, urban public squares for citizens and many more changes. As he began to view in depth of the issue of the environment there Mohammed began to notice the disengagement of the community socially. Economically structure of this environment was not meeting any basic needs. He starts off by criticizing communication. a few children spoke dutch and no one was assisting them in learning the language which will accommodate them better. Social programs that emphasizes this criteria was not met. This leads into schools and teachers which were not meeting the standards. Education standards were dropping as well as students. Many high school dropouts were occurring and unemployment was at a rise. With social issues like this the economy was not functioning just like its neighbors.

    This leads into how the religious factor was implemented into the political agenda. In Slovervaart security was tough. Mohammed noticed that the culture of Slovervaart was a new hybrid culture. He emphasized on the story of Mohammed Bouyeri and the death of Theo Van Gogh. Radical Islam was at stake during that time and how it has influence modern politics. Mohammed Mallouch viewed his town tear its political thoughts through a dark cave. The chapter further discuses what Job Cohen theorizes about radicalism in Islam and how it has influences politics in Amsterdam. With such radicalism in the political atmosphere Mohammed Mallouch reaches out and proposes new ideologies to improve and implement the city’s structure.

    The one main factor I found interesting in this chapter is the positivity to grow this economy. Despite social, political and economical turmoil Mohammed Mallouch still strives for new inventive policies and structures this city can benefit from. His key point throughout this chapter is that Spontaneity is what drives a successful arrival city. This city lack positivity and which basically drives success. This can bring from new foreign ties with neighboring cities along with social and political reformation. He points that out property is not the only thing that drives a successful social life but rural development from every spectrum should be emphasized. The chapter later assimilates into a contemplating factor of whether Toronto is a survival city or revival city. Introducing characters such as Adinah and her husband Hillal. Hillal has experience living in the city while Adinah does not and grew up in a western culture. This neighborhood is presumably stated to be a poor area with lack or political, social and economical support and sources. Although this may be the case Doug Sanders emphasizes that there can be success in rejuvenation of this town. The ideology of spontaneity should be implemented here which will integrate success with social, political and economical spectrum’s.

  14. maryamkxo says:

    The final chapter of Arrival City was the most relatable to me personally, especially in regards to the example provided of Thorncliffe park, Toronto. Considering Canada to be a multi-cultural country with a variety of different ethnic enclaves dispersed throughout the city, arrival cities are therefore filled with foreign migrants who aspire for opportunity, education, housing, etc. The need for a better education was of course among the many reasons why people transition to the urban sector. Similarity, I think most families who moved to Toronto from South America, Asia, Europe, Africa and the Middle East had the desire to attend college or university and get a job that helps their family back home – this idea of remittances as being an important factor for providing an income for home villages from the arrival city.

    The importance of state policy and resources in sustaining the growth of arrival cities was an important aspect that was brought to attention throughout the book. However Thorncliffe park seemed to be successful because of the investment and attention by the government, (pp. 316) – an important note to take in for local and national governments around the world to learn by. Moreover, creating networks and maintaining connections in the arrival city makes it easier for migrants to transition to the middle class and the urban core.

    Ending the book with a successful arrival city (Thorncliffe Park) and establishing a solution to encourage the flow and growth of arrival cities was promising. Governments need to invest in arrival cities in order to make them more resilient and reduce urban poverty because they are in fact a functional part of the city that required attention, not eradication.

  15. Kristin says:

    This chapter of Arrival City talks about three arrival cities, Amsterdam, Bangladesh and Toronto. Within Amsterdam the chapter starts with Mohamed Mallaouch who moved to Slotervaart, Amsterdam and speaks of it as a place that was perfect when he originally arrived. That there were apartments and shops to work, and many public squares. Throughout this part of the chapter there were problems within the city, not many people spoke Dutch and everyone was cut off from everything. There was no one around that was helping children learn Dutch and no real reason that the children would have to learn it. The arrival city was filled with satellite dishes coming from all the apartment buildings.
    This part of the chapter greatly bothered me. That Doug Saunders was describing an isolated area of the world and insinuating that because Mohamed was living in an isolated community that was only connected through their satellite dishes that it fostered radicalism. This is a mainstream idea and though it did happen in this specific instance, it is not something that happens in every isolated community. The way that it is projected in this specific area of the chapter it gives the wrong impression about radicals and where their beliefs are fostered.
    The second part of the chapter is set in Bangladesh and speaks about an island that Saunders describes as inhabitable. He found the gateway to this arrival city between two high-rise buildings. The island has high rent costs but it is close to really good jobs. This is important to the people of the arrival city because it helps them make money to pay the bills and save.
    So far in the novel I have been thinking what made Saunders choose the people he speaks about? Is it the people who have the hardest struggle and have come out on top? Another question I have is are the stories that these people tell the norm for everyone or are they better off than others? I question these things because it seems that for the most part through out the novel the people that are spoken about have stories of them overcoming very hard situations. If more stories were offered about the people who live in these different arrival cities it would have allowed for a better well rounded representation of these arrival cities around the world.
    The last part of this chapter is about the arrival city in Thorncliffe Park, Toronto. This place has for generations been the place that people have moved to urbanize and save money and then continue on to other homes and areas in Toronto. This recently has decreased, there seems to be less people moving out of Thorncliffe Park and are for generations staying. There are all types of dialects that are spoken and it is a way that other people from other cultures come together to help each other transition into a new country.
    It is not until the end of the chapter when Saunders speaks about how not all the radicals are created within an isolated area. That in a majority of cases there are more radical beliefs created and perpetuated in larger cities than in isolation. This is only discussed at the end of the chapter and not in very much detail. This greatly bothered me because at the beginning of the chapter he placed a lot of emphasis on the mainstream idea of how radicalism is perpetuated. Though when it came down to the facts it was barely covered even though he states that the media makes everyone believe that extremists are created in high population areas. In the novel he speaks about out of the 75 alleged members of al Qaeda members that were arrested in Britain only 17 came from a high Muslim population where are 42 percent came from 6% Muslim populated areas.

  16. Eduardo Cardoso says:

    The first part of chapter 10 really impressed me because I had the impression that Mohamed was talking about Toronto’s Regent Park (RP). The two neighbourhoods have a lot in common. RP also houses a large number of visibly Muslim immigrants who, I believe, may live a life apart from the surrounding one due to cultural and linguistic differences, but also due to the isolating nature of the particular physical shape that previously defined the neighbourhood. This shape kept residents in a world of their own, as many of the streets that at one time had run through the area, connecting it to its surroundings, ceased to exist when, starting in the early 1950s, the government built social housing projects in a park-style setting. Now that RP is being redeveloped, the traditional street pattern is being restored, reconnecting the neighbourhood to the rest of the city, making it feel more open and safe.

    I do not think RP feels like a ghetto for the people who live there, though. I would guess that it is because Canada, unlike Holland, is immigrant-friendly?

    I live nearby in Corktown, and I remember reading about some RP residents complaining that as part of its redevelopment, the city was going to demolish one of the buildings that had a mosque in the basement. Some of the residents were moved to a brand new high-rise condo at King and Sherbourne, (a much nicer area, closer to the subway and a place that I wouldn’t mind being forced to move to) and that made them very upset because it was away from their neighbourhood. The fact that they would prefer to live in RP does not, however, mean they have not integrated successfully into Toronto society. Unlike Slotervaart, RP is centrally located in the downtown core. It may just be that they feel the need to have their own community as well.

    I think it was a bit of a stretch to paint Slotervaart as an isolated sort of ‘concentration-camp’ designed by the Dutch to keep Muslim immigrants away from mainstream society and that this was a contributory factor in the radicalization of the murderous psychopath Mohamed Bouyeri. There are violent crimes like that happening all the time that do not get the same level of attention because they are not classified as terrorist attacks. Nowadays perhaps there is a little too much of people always trying to blame victims for being victimized.

  17. Priyanga J says:

    In the final chapter of Arrival City, Doug Saunders focuses on three different arrival cities (Amsterdam, Bangladesh and Toronto). In the context of Toronto, Saunders focuses on “Thorncliffe Park”, a poor neighbourhood, with a high influx of migrants. This particular part in the chapter hit home for me, as my parents and family shared similar experiences as the migrants at “Thorncliffe Park” when my family and I first migrated to Toronto in the early 90’s. Saunders writes that “Thorncliffe Park”, regardless of its poor postal code, is seen as a place of opportunity for its people as its residents have a record of entering the middle-class urban mainstream within a generation. Furthermore, the area is seen as comfortable and convenient for the immigrants as they feel at home with other immigrants as well as have access to transportation and other services catered to immigrants. Saunders writes, “Thorncliffe Park is the place where networks are developed, where the transition to middle-class city life is made-but the success often leads elsewhere” (Saunders, 2010, pp. 314-315). Based on my experiences around Thorncliffe Park, I would have to agree with Saunders’ observation. It was a place that was home to various immigrants, and among these different immigrant communities, my parents were able to form networks with people that they were able to connect with and had shared experiences. Furthermore, community centres and services catered towards helping immigrants such as community based ESL classes held in public libraries and etc allowed for my parents to learn the English language and adapt to the city’s culture, language and way of living. This allowed my parents to seek stable job opportunities, and as described in Saunders’ chapter helped my family transition into the middle-class city life and further move up the economic ladder.
    It’s been quite awhile since I’ve been around the areas of Thorncliffe Park, but to read that it still serves as a gateway for immigrant families to arrive and settle and transition successfully into the Toronto life, amazes me. What I can take away from this is that arrival cities such as Toronto can shape your life in many different ways depending on the opportunities you get and the services that are provided and the networks that can be created. An example such as “Thorncliffe Park” goes to show one that despite its poor postal code, there is room for opportunity, growth, and positive change in an arrival city, under the right conditions.

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