Published on 28th July 2017 by

Mass migration to cities is a modern phenomenon. Why does it work well in some European cities and fail miserably in others? We take a look.

Flight, immigration, the move from rural to urban areas and other forms of the ‘new migration’ confront us with great challenges. But internationally acclaimed migration expert Doug Saunders is optimistic. His history of migration in Europe shows that it can bring great opportunities for everyone. We join him on a trip to Istanbul, London, Paris, Amsterdam and Berlin.

‘Arrival City’ is the term migration expert Doug Saunders uses for the title of his book: a place where migrants first settle in search of a better future for their children. To find out how integration works, and why it fails so miserably in some places, Saunders and director Jörg Daniel Hissen visited Istanbul, London, Paris, Amsterdam and Berlin. Flight, immigration, the move from rural to urban areas and other forms of the “new Migration” are immense challenges to modern societies. Cultural differences, language problems and housing are just a few of the hurdles that the newcomers have to contend with in the “arrival cities.” These are often parts of towns that make the headlines as problem districts, and the residents are often hostile to outsiders. But Doug Saunders is optimistic. His research on migration in Europe shows that immigration is an opportunity for migrants and native populations alike as long as the migrants are provided with conditions that allow them to play an active role. Civil rights, educational opportunities and social mobility are important factors in successful integration. If the “arrival cities” allow the incomers to set up small businesses and improve their circumstances, at least for the second generation, they often develop into hip neighborhoods and popular residential areas for the middle class. This documentary connects the dots between the personal stories of individual migrants and the town planning and political initiatives that are needed if the arrival regions are to benefit from migration.

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