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Arrival City

Cover of Arrival City

Arrival City

How the Largest Migration in History Is Reshaping Our World
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Look around: the largest migration in human history is under way. For the first time ever, more people are living in cities than in rural areas. Between 2007 and 2050, the world's cities will have...More
Look around: the largest migration in human history is under way. For the first time ever, more people are living in cities than in rural areas. Between 2007 and 2050, the world's cities will have...More
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Description-
  • Look around: the largest migration in human history is under way. For the first time ever, more people are living in cities than in rural areas. Between 2007 and 2050, the world's cities will have absorbed 3.1 billion people. Urbanization is the mass movement that will change our world during the twenty-first century, and the "arrival city" is where it is taking place.

    The arrival city exists on the outskirts of the metropolis, in the slums, or in the suburbs; the American version is New York's Lower East Side of a century ago or today's Herndon County, Virginia. These are the places where newcomers try to establish new lives and to integrate themselves socially and economically. Their goal is to build communities, to save and invest, and, hopefully, move out, making room for the next wave of migrants. For some, success is years away; for others, it will never come at all.

    As vibrant places of exchange, arrival cities have long been indicators of social health. Whether it's Paris in 1789 or Tehran in 1978, whenever migrant populations are systematically ignored, we should expect violence and extremism. But, as the award-winning journalist Doug Saunders demonstrates, when we make proper investments in our arrival cities--through transportation, education, security, and citizenship--a prosperous middle class develops.

    Saunders takes us on a tour of these vital centers, from Maryland to Shenzhen, from the favelas of Rio to the shantytowns of Mumbai, from Los Angeles to Nairobi. He uncovers the stories--both inspiring and heartbreaking--of the people who live there, and he shows us how the life or death of our arrival cities will determine the shape of our future.



    From the Hardcover edition.
Excerpts-
  • PREFACE

    The Place Where Everything Changes

    What will be remembered about the twenty-first century, more than anything else except perhaps the effects of a changing climate, is the great, and final, shift of human populations out of rural, agricultural life and into cities. We will end this century as a wholly urban species. This movement engages an unprecedented number of people--two or three billion humans, perhaps a third of the world's population--and will affect almost everyone in tangible ways. It will be the last human movement of this size and scope; in fact, the changes it makes to family life, from large agrarian families to small urban ones, will put an end to the major theme of human history, continuous population growth.

    The last time humans made such a dramatic migration, in Europe and the New World between the late eighteenth and the early twentieth centuries, the direct effect was a complete reinvention of human thought, governance, technology, and welfare. Mass urbanization produced the French Revolution, the Industrial Revolution and, with them, the enormous social and political changes of the previous two centuries. Yet this narrative of human change was not to be found in the newspapers of the 1840s or the parliamentary debates of the early twentieth century; the city-bound migration and the rise of new, transitional urban enclaves was a story largely unknown to the people directly affected by it. And the catastrophes of mismanaged urbanization--the human miseries and revolutionary uprisings and wars--were often a direct result of this blindness: We failed to account for this influx of people, and in the process created urban communities of recent arrivals who became trapped, excluded, resentful. Much of the history of this age was the history of deracinated people, deprived of franchise, making urgent and sometimes violent attempts to gain a standing in the urban order.

    If we make a similar mistake today and dismiss the great migration as a negligible effect, as a background noise or a fate of others that we can avoid in our own countries, we are in danger of suffering far larger explosions and ruptures. Some aspects of this great migration are already unfolding in front of us: the tensions over immigration in the United States, Europe and Australia; the political explosions in Iran, Venezuela, Mumbai, Amsterdam, the outskirts of Paris. But many of the changes and discontinuities are not being noticed at all. We do not understand this migration because we do not know how to look at it. We do not know where to look. We have no place, no name, for the locus of our new world.

    In my journalistic travels, I developed the habit of introducing myself to new cities by riding subway and tram routes to the end of the line, or into the hidden interstices and inaccessible corners of the urban core, and examining the places that extended before me. These are always fascinating, bustling, unattractive, improvised, difficult places, full of new people and big plans. My trip to the edge was not always by choice: I have found myself drawn by news events to the northern reaches of Mumbai, the dusty edges of Tehran, the hillside folds of São Paulo and Mexico City, the smouldering apartment block fringes of Paris and Amsterdam and Los Angeles. What I found in these places were people who had been born in villages, who had their minds and ambitions fixed on the symbolic center of the city, and who were engaged in a struggle of monumental scope to find a basic and lasting berth in the city for their children.

    This ex-rural population, I found, was creating strikingly similar urban spaces all over the world: spaces whose physical...

About the Author-
  • Doug Saunders is an award-winning journalist and the European bureau chief of The Globe and Mail. He lives in London.



Reviews-
  • Nicholas Leman, The New Yorker

    "A brisk world tour of enormous urban-fringe neighborhoods populated by people who have left the countryside, among them Tartary, in west-central Poland; Kibera, in Nairobi; and Petare, in Caracas . . . Perhaps because Saunders is a journalist who isn't selling his advice, his version of the city is . . . more persuasive."

  • Jonathan Shainin, Bookforum "Saunders's success stories tend to begin with benign neglect--as the arrival city takes its emergent form, dense and improvised--and to end with carefully tailored state interventions. These efforts typically go well beyond legal measures like title granting, he notes, to include 'a wide and expensive range of government-funded services and supports.' One does not need to be a cynic, alas, to suspect that cities and nations may not apply their best policies to their worst neighborhoods. But for those who are wise enough to try, Saunders has written the manual."
  • Jessica Loudis, NPR.org "[An] excellent account of how urban immigrant centers function in increasingly subtle ways, and how governments succeed and fail in managing them. . . . Arrival City asks that we take a closer look at urbanization before its mismanagement is further mistaken for the thing itself, and to recognize that a citified future is not necessarily a doomed one."
  • Dwight Garner, The New York Times "Serious, mightily researched, lofty and humane, Arrival City is packed with salient detail and could hardly be more timely. . . . Saunders's optimistic book, which draws on the work of economists, sociologists and urban planners, feels as important in its way as was Jane Jacobs's Death and Life of Great American Cities . . . It feels like a game changer; it should certainly be a policy changer."
  • Melanie Kirkpatrick, Wall Street Journal "Life in the arrival city can be fragile, precarious and lonely. It can also be liberating, empowering and the path to economic success and personal fulfillment. Arrival City presents an optimistic and humane view of global urbanization. Let's hope urban planners and politicians pay attention."
  • Nicholas Leman, The New Yorker "A brisk world tour of enormous urban-fringe neighborhoods populated by people who have left the countryside, among them Tartary, in west-central Poland; Kibera, in Nairobi; and Petare, in Caracas . . . Perhaps because Saunders is a journalist who isn't selling his advice, his version of the city is . . . more persuasive."
  • Jonathan Shainin, Bookforum "Saunders's success stories tend to begin with benign neglect--as the arrival city takes its emergent form, dense and improvised--and to end with carefully tailored state interventions. These efforts typically go well beyond legal measures like title granting, he notes, to include 'a wide and expensive range of government-funded services and supports.' One does not need to be a cynic, alas, to suspect that cities and nations may not apply their best policies to their worst neighborhoods. But for those who are wise enough to try, Saunders has written the manual."
  • Jessica Loudis, NPR.org "[An] excellent account of how urban immigrant centers function in increasingly subtle ways, and how governments succeed and fail in managing them. . . . Arrival City asks that we take a closer look at urbanization before its mismanagement is further mistaken for the thing itself, and to recognize that a citified future is not necessarily a doomed one."
  • Chesa Boudin, San Francisco Chronicle "With the voice of a seasoned reporter, Saunders writes compelling, first-hand narratives describing the challenges and triumphs of migrant families from across the globe . . . The major contribution of Arrival City is a call to take seriously the needs of immigrant communities in urban areas."
  • Kirkus Reviews "Incisive study of worldwide rural-to-urban migration, its complex social mechanisms and the consequences of institutional neglect . . . Never speculative, Saunders dexterously weaves personal case studies--some of which are practically unspeakable and ultimately overwhelming--with the broader institutional context. An essential work for those who pay attention to the effects of globalization--which is, or at least should be, nearly everyone."
  • Richard Warnica, Edmonton Journal (review also appeared in The Vancouver Sun and The Gazette) "Brilliantly researched, hugely valuable new book. . . . A testament to the value of research and knowledge. . . . Arrival Cityis a masterpiece of reporting, one of the most valuable and lucid works on public policy published anywhere in years. That Saunders produced it now, as journalism is moving more and more toward the temporary, makes it even more remarkable. As the business he works in strives every day to give consumers less information more often, Saunders does the opposite. He takes the long view. He questions perceived wisdom and finds answers in research, reporting and facts."
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