Migration and the City
Summary of conference held Feb. 15-17, 2022.
This year’s conference enjoyed record registration and attendance, with participants based in more than 150 different countries. Each panel began with greetings from across the globe. The presentations provided common themes and challenges that connected participants from different professional and geographic backgrounds and sparked rigorous discussion and debate.
“Universities have a special role to convene important conversations and lead positive change. I hope that this conference will empower you all to share insights on how cities can grow and be enriched by the full participation of their diverse population.” – Mohamed Lachemi, president and vice-chancellor, Ryerson University
“I was delighted to see that [the conference] brought together cases spanning different parts of the globe for discussion and comparison, for example China and North America; South and West Africa with the Middle East and West Asia; and Europe, North America and even South America. It shows there is something that unites us all in terms of migration and urbanization.” – Anna Triandafyllidou, Canada Excellence Research Chair in Migration and Integration and conference organizer
Program Abstracts, PowerPoint Presentations & Video Recordings
|Feb. 15, 12 - 1:30 PM EST||Session 1: Emerging and established global cities: An investigation of daily life and the negotiation of urban diversity from below, by different types of actors|
Chair: Amin Moghadam
Corridors and constellations: Time, space and mobility governance amidst Africa's emerging urban | Loren B. Landau, University of Oxford, University of the Witwatersrand PDF fileAbstract PDF filePresentation
Urban diversity is first and foremost a context of social, economic, cultural and political relations. In the world’s major metropolises, it is formed by the interweaving of the history of a particular context and the diverse practices taking place at various geographical levels. This can take form via exchanges at a local scale – for example, in a neighbourhood – among transnational networks of migrants; or it may involve global economic and cultural networks propelled by large multinational companies, state authorities and globalized elites, as we discuss in Session 2 below. Through empirical studies carried out in cities spanning Asia, Latin America, South Africa, the Gulf States and Europe, the participants in the first two sessions cast light on the complexity of urban diversity.
|Feb. 15, 2 PM - 3:30 PM EST||Session 2: Emerging and established global cities: Local policies and the role of state actors in managing diversity from above|
Chair: Sheryl-Ann Simpson, Carleton University
|Feb. 16, 12 PM - 1:30 PM EST||Session 3: Cities and transit migrant and refugee populations|
Chair: Zeynep Sahin Mençutek, Bonn International Center for Conflict Studies, CERC Migration, Ryerson University
Border cities may serve as transit and temporary spaces for refugees, asylum seekers and "irregular" migrants who look for opportunities to migrate onwards beyond initial transit countries. Due to the protracted nature of migration journeys and their associated risks, these transit migrant populations often stay in border cities longer than initially envisioned. As a result, border cities are also confronted with the arrival of a diversity of service providers ranging from international humanitarian NGO workers, state officers, international organization employees, journalists, researchers, entrepreneurs and smugglers. Short or long-term stays of these actors lead to physical and social transformations of urban neighbourhoods and border towns. In addition, prevailing restrictive border policies may subject these cities to top-down physical changes, such as the construction of border walls, the deployment of extra security measures and even the creation of cemeteries for abandoned corpses of migrants. This panel will focus on the socio-spatial changes in border towns in Europe and Latin America.
|Feb. 16, 5 - 6:30 PM EST||Session 4: Small and mid-sized cities: Urban policies targetting migrants|
Chair: Melissa Kelly, CERC Migration, Ryerson University
International migration in contexts of population ageing, population loss and economic disparity: Comparing second-tier cities in Atlantic Canada and the U.S. Rust Belt | Yolande Pottie-Sherman, Memorial University PDF fileAbstract PDF filePresentation
Communities in the driver’s seat: Insights from North America and Europe on migrant attraction and retention in small cities | Talia Stump, Multicultural New South Wales PDF fileAbstract PDF filePresentation
Migration is typically understood as an urban phenomenon affecting larger cities. But in countries with highly managed immigration systems such as Canada, Australia and New Zealand, efforts have increasingly been made by different levels of government to encourage migration to smaller centres. Often, smaller cities view international migration as one way to grow the local population and economy, and a range of stakeholders, including local organizations, employers and community members, mobilize to welcome migrants to their communities. Despite this, many smaller cities continue to struggle to provide the services, housing options and employment opportunities that migrants need. There is clearly a need to better understand the experiences of smaller communities as destinations for migrants and what can be done to improve their success. This panel will take a comparative approach with speakers from Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
|Feb. 17, 9:30 - 11 AM EST||Session 5: Suburban migration: Interrogating the intersections of global migration and suburban transformation|
Chair: Zhixi Zhuang, Ryerson University
Housing new Canadians on the "edge of the suburbs" in Vancouver: A case study of immigrant renters in Burnaby, Surrey, Richmond and Abbotsford | Carlos Teixeira, University of British Columbia Okanagan PDF fileAbstract PDF filePresentation
Suburbanization as a global phenomenon has presented multifaceted patterns of change in various contexts. Migrant settlements in suburban spaces add complexity to suburbia by bringing diverse demographics, (inter)cultural practices, new built forms, and new meanings of space and community. These migrant spaces challenge the conventional organization of suburbia. Governments, practitioners and academics must often reconcile the competing needs of diversity and urban growth played out in changing land uses and physical forms (e.g., neighbourhood character and heritage preservation), competing claims for space and rights to the city (e.g., who has access to resources), and considerations of equity and social inclusion (e.g., who belongs to and in the community). This panel examines migration-related suburbanization in different countries to cast light on narratives of everyday suburban life, diversity management, growth and development, policy and governance, and socio-spatial (in)equity and (in)justice.