Category Archives: Urbanism

Anoop Nayak on Gateshead


From my archive: On being haunted in the city

I was thinking today of my friend Bukola, who left this world just over 20 years ago this month. It made me dig this piece out, which I wrote ten years later, which was published in the CUCR magazine Street Signs in Autumn 2008. The Paul here is Paul Hendrich, who died tragically young ten years ago, in January 2018.

It is at train stations that I am most often visited by ghosts. Yesterday, at Waterloo East, I saw my friend Paul pushing his daughter in a buggy. As he came nearer and his image clarified, I realised that of course it was not him – those sideburns, that orange shirt belonged to another man – and a wave of grief hits me, thinking of the friend I no longer have, but especially the father his daughter no longer has.

Less frequently now than before, but still with surprising regularity, I see Bukola at London Bridge station, a glimpse amongst the crowds boarding and alighting from the trains in and out of the city. Sometimes her hair is cropped short, sometimes bleached yellow, her smile a white dazzle amongst the blur of passengers.

Bukola was my close friend for four years, nearly fifteen years ago.

I find her present too in Paul Auster’s New York Trilogy, a book she lent me which I have been unable to finish but still morbidly pick at from time to time. It reminds me of a grim few days when I struggled with it in the inauspicious environment of the surgical in-patients ward at King’s in Camberwell. The memory of my brief hospitalisation inevitably triggers the far grimmer memory of later visits to Bukola in the psychiatric wing in the tower of Guy’s in the final months of her life. The muted television. The nodding inmates endlessly sipping tea and repeatedly tapping barely smoked cigarettes in the ashtray. The lack of privacy these men and women had.

Bukola’s copy of the Trilogy has passages underlined and highlighted. I have no way of knowing if she emphasised them, or bought the book second hand, already notated. I find arcane significance, clues to her death, in these phrases and paragraphs: depressing images of urban anonymity, paranoid fantasies of being followed along city blocks, Manhattan’s cityscape as an illegible labyrinth.

The regularity with which Bukola comes to me at London Bridge, I think, has to do with the survivor’s guilt associated with suicide: perhaps if I’d acted differently, if I’d held out the hand of friendship more fulsomely, more unconditionally, she would have made different decisions. I think of Bukola, as Antonin Artaud described Van Gogh, as suicided by society.

Her imagination, her creativity, her energy burnt too brightly, too vividly, too intensely for this world. I have no doubt that the everyday drip-drip of racism was part of Bukola’s illness, the non-verbal geographies of suspicion and interdiction that black Londoners navigate; in her episodes, Bukola frequently experienced herself as a black dog.

Bukola, though, was passionately metropolitan. Unlike many other native Londoners, she did not take the pleasures of the city for granted, and she used to enjoy taking me and my friend Johnny – small-town provincials – through the estates of Nunhead where she had been brought up, or pointing out the obscure root vegetables in Peckham
Rye market, or teasing us for acting like bumpkins at Soho post-production parties she snuck us into.

I thought then I would never lose the wonder of the metropolis, the bedazzlement and sensory overload in the face of London’s hugeness and variousness, of the city sublime. But over the years I find myself cultivating what the sociologist Simmel called the blasé attitude, the shock-resistance techniques of the urbanite – the defence system Bukola never mastered. And with that blasé attitude comes a little less wonder.

Until she appears again from out of the throng at London Bridge.

 

 

Gidley, Ben (2008) “On being haunted in the city” Street Signs Autumn 2008, p.17


From the archive: Passages Through Dark Times

Been going through some of my old stuff, and found some stuff from the CUCR magazine Street Signs (archive online here). This is from page 18-19 of Volume 1, Issue 5, Spring 2003. The issue also has a lovely interview with Paul Gilroy about The Streets, Fran Tonkiss on “inner city values”, Michael Stone on Laurie Grove in New Cross, Les Back interviewing M Y Alam, Hiroki Ogasawara visiting Walter Benjamin’s grave, and a beautiful celebration of Flemming Røgilds.

The article below describes my first proper academic conference, in Leipzig, and reflects on the relationship between Jews and the left in the darkness of the 20th century, and how that darkness is remembered by historians and leaves its traces in urban space. Since I wrote it, some of the people in it have passed away, including Arnold Paucker in 2016 (age 95).

Memhardstrasse and Rosa Luxemburg Strasse

Passages Through Dark Times
Ben Gidley talks about Jewishness, Memory and Urban Space in East Germany

“You who will emerge from the flood in which we were drowned remember when you speak of our weaknesses the dark time from which you escaped…
Remember us with forbearance.”
–Bertolt Brecht “To Those Born After Us”

“Even in the darkest of times we have the right to expect some illumination, and such illumination may well come less from theories and concepts than from the uncertain, flickering, and often weak light that some men and women, in their lives and in their works, will kindle under almost all circumstances and
shed over the time span that was given them on earth…”
–Hannah Arendt “Men in Dark Times” 

The transit bus from the airport into Leipzig arrived at the exact time given on the time-table. The bus glided through the flat monotony of the Saxon countryside, entering a zone of urban sprawl, in which it was impossible to distinguish which low-rise concrete box contained homes and which contained factories, warehouses, offices. The grey postindustrial landscape was punctuated here and there by Vietnamese signs, testimony to the historic links between East Germany and Communist Vietnam.

From the bus station, we crossed over the no-man’s land of a wide ring road (“good for tanks”, as my Yiddish teacher, Gennady Estraikh, pointed out – a fact he knew from the bitter experience of living most of his life in the Soviet Union) into the beauty of the baroque town centre. Since reunification, Leipzig has been a jewel in the East’s crown, receiving heavy regeneration investment. “Leipzig is coming” is the bizarre slogan of the tourist office, which describes it as a cosmopolitan, multicultural town (not something apparent from the faces of the people I passed on the street).

It was Autumn 2001. I was in Leipzig to participate in a conference, held at the Simon Dubnov Institute for Jewish History and Culture, entitled “Jewish Questions, Communist Answers”, about the historical relationship between Jews and Communist parties. I was anxious about giving my first proper conference paper – especially as I was scheduled into the opening slot, at 9 a.m., sharing a platform with some of the most distinguished scholars at the conference. As it turned out, post-September 11 fear of flying had kept away many of the American delegates, including the one I was most scared about sharing a session with. The absence of Americans, however, also meant that the dominant language shifted from English to German, leaving me feeling a little marginal – something non-English speakers regularly experience in the often American-centric academic world. As with many European academics, most of the conference participants were able to slide with ease between languages. But the multi-lingualism of the conference delegates was part of something different. Continue reading


CUCR podcast: Identity, belonging and citizenship in urban Britain

From the CUCR blog:

In this CUCR podcast, Les Back talks to Steve Hanson and Ben Gidley about their new report with Sundas Ali Identity, Belonging & Citizenship in Urban Britain (CUCR, 2018).  This study of UK cities was conducted before the Brexit vote but in many respects it anticipated its outcome.  In this report they argue that urban spaces  can be characterised on a continuum with ‘English cities’ at one end and British cities at the other.  They also talk about the politics of Englishness and urban multicultural conviviality and what makes a good city.
The full report can be downloaded for Free here and copies are available from directly from CUCR.
Steve Hanson’s book Small Towns, Austere Times: The Dialectics of Deracinated Localism is available from Zero Books.

Coming soon: Identity, Belonging & Citizenship in Urban Britain

A new CUCR occasional paper:

Ben Gidley, Steve Hanson and Sundas Ali Identity, Belonging & Citzenship in Urban Britain [pdf]

 


Cities acting for migration

The Columbia Global Policy Initiative has made a submission about the role of cities to the Special Representative of the Secretary General for International Migration in relation to the Global Compact for Migration. It includes this claim:

local authorities and mayors in particular play a crucial role in framing greater diversity as a complex but fundamentally fruitful outcome of globalization.

This claim is referenced with a citation to a report I co-wrote: Elizabeth Collett & Ben Gidley, ESRC Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS), University of Oxford, Attitudes to Migrants, Communication and Local Leadership
(AMICALL) — Final Transnational Report (2012) see at https://www.compas.ox.ac.uk/media/PR-2012-AMICALL_Transnational.pdf .


Book giveaway: Ethnography, Diversity and Urban Space

Ethnography, Diversity and Urban Space book cover.

From the British Sociological Association:

This month we have five copies of Ethnography, Diversity and Urban Space [Routledge], edited by Mette Louise Berg, Ben Gidley and Nando Sigona, to giveaway to our members.

This book explores how people live with diversity in contemporary cities and towns across Europe. Drawing on ethnographic studies ranging from London’s inner city and residential suburbs to English provincial towns, from a working-class neighbourhood in Nuremberg to the streets of Naples, Turin and Milan, chapters explore how diversity is experienced in everyday lives, and what new forms of local belonging emerge when local places are so closely connected to so many distant elsewheres. The book discusses the sensory experiences of diversity in urban street markets, the ethos of mixing in a super-diverse neighbourhood, contestations over the right to the provincial city, diverse histories and experiences of residential geographies, memories of belonging, and the ethics and politics of representation on an inner city estate. It weaves together ethnographic case studies with contemporary social and cultural theory from the disciplines of anthropology, sociology, geography, cultural studies, and migration studies about urban space, migration, transnationalism and everyday multiculture.

If you are interested in receiving one of these free copies, please email Claire Simmons with your name and postal address and we will pick five winners at random in June. Please note that you must be a BSA member to enter this book draw. If you aren’t a member and would like to find out how to become one and see what other benefits are available to you please visit the Membership section.

 


Migrant Metropolis

When:  14 Sep 2016 – 18:3020:30

Where:

Autograph ABP – Rivington Place, London, EC2A 3BA

An evening of film, photography, radio, theatre and debate on how the movement of people is shaping our city. 

Organised by Migrants Right Network.

Stories of arrival, belonging, struggle and longing that prompt us to reflect on what it takes to be an open and inclusive city, told by some of our favourite artists, writers and activists.

With the participation of:

  • Alia Syed, experimental filmmaker and artist. Alia’s work proposes an ongoing investigation of the nature and role of language in intercultural communication, with a focus on borders and boundaries, translation and the trans-cultured self.
  • Kavita Puri, Editor, BBC Our World. Presenter of BBC Radio 4’s award-winning series Three Pounds in My Pocket, that tells the stories of the pioneering migrants who came to Britain from the Indian subcontinent in the 1950s and 1960s.
  • Anthony Lam, a photographic artist whose work examines and explores notions and (un)realities of boundaries and borders.
  • Rebecca Omonira-Oyekanmi, reporter and writer that exposes the impact of government policy on ordinary lives. Writer in residence Lacuna Magazine, shortlisted for the George Orwell Prize for Politcal Writing 2012 & 2015.
  • Amina Gichinga, Music educator and community activist with Take Back the City, former City & East London Assembly Take Back our City candidate.
  • Ben Gidley, Senior Lecturer, Department of Psychosocial Studies, University of Birbeck. Ben’s ethnographic research focuses on the question of how we live together with difference in urban settings.
  •  Inua Ellams,  award winning poet, playwright and performer. Identity, displacement and destiny are recurring themes in his work.

There will be a drinks reception after the event to continue the conversation.

FREE. Register here


They’ve Got Their Wine Bars, We’ve Got Our Pubs

Image result for Inter-group Relations and Migrant Integration in European Cities. Changing Neighbourhoods

A new publication, March 2016:

Inter-group Relations and Migrant Integration in European Cities: Changing Neighbourhoods

Publisher: Springer
Pages: 216
ISBN: 978-3-319-23095-5 (Print) 978-3-319-23096-2 (Online)
Available under Open Access at SpringerLink: http://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-319-23096-2
Year: 2016

Summary

This book presents a comparative analysis of intergroup relations and migrant integration at the neighbourhood level in Europe. Featuring a unique collection of portraits of urban relations between the majority population and immigrant minorities, it examines how relations are structured and evolve in different and increasingly diverse local societies. Inside, readers will find a coordinated set of ethnographic studies conducted in eleven neighbourhoods of five European cities: London, Barcelona, Budapest, Nuremberg, and Turin. The wide-ranging coverage encompasses post-industrial districts struggling to counter decline, vibrant super-diverse areas, and everything in between. Featuring highly contextualised, cross-disciplinary explorations presented within a solid comparative framework, this book considers such questions as: Why does the native-immigrant split become a tense boundary in some neighbourhoods of some European cities but not in others? To what extent are ethnically framed conflicts driven by site-specific factors or instead by broader, exogenous ones? How much does the structure of urban spaces count in fuelling inter-ethnic tensions and what can local policy communities do to prevent this? The answers it provides are based on a multi-layer approach which combines in-depth analysis of intergroup relations with a strong attention towards everyday categorization processes, media representations, and narratives on which local policies are based. Even though the relations between the majority and migrant minorities are a central topic, the volume also offers readers a broader perspective of social and urban transformation in contemporary urban settings. It provides insightful research on migration and urban studies as well as social dynamics that scholars and students around the world will find relevant. In addition, policy makers will find evidence-based and practically relevant lessons for the governance of increasingly diverse and mobile societies.

Contents

Introduction
Ferruccio Pastore, Irene Ponzo

‘They’ve Got Their Wine Bars, We’ve Got Our Pubs’: Housing, Diversity and Community in Two South London Neighbourhoods
Ole Jensen, Ben Gidley

Rise and Resolution of Ethnic Conflicts in Nuremberg Neighbourhoods
Claudia Köhler

Comfortably Invisible: The Life of Chinese Migrants Around ‘The Four Tigers Market’ in Budapest
Boglárka Szalai, Krisztina La-Torre

Inter-Group Perceptions and Representations in Two Barcelona Neighbourhoods: Poble Sec and Sagrada Família Compared
Ricard Morén-Alegret, Albert Mas, Dawid Wladyka

Turin in Transition: Shifting Boundaries in Two Post-Industrial Neighbourhoods
Pietro Cingolani

News Media and Immigration in the EU: Where and How the Local Dimension Matters
Andrea Pogliano

Boundaries, Barriers and Bridges: Comparative Findings from European Neighbourhoods
Ferruccio Pastore, Irene Ponzo

Reviews:

For anyone who wants to understand a critical issue of the early 21st century–the integration of immigrant minorities in European cities-this book is essential reading.  In contrast to the all-too-common top-down view from the perspective of the national state, the authors provide us with essential ground-level insights from the daily round in urban neighborhoods. — Richard Alba, CUNY Graduate Center

This timely book makes a substantial contribution to our understanding of migration in Europe. Its focus on the neglected areas of negotiation, boundary-making and social relationships in European neighbourhoods make it especially compelling. It deserves to be read closely by academics and policy-makers alike. — Richard Gale, Cardiff University

Our chapter:

‘They’ve Got Their Wine Bars, We’ve Got Our Pubs’: Housing, Diversity and Community in Two South London Neighbourhoods Ole Jensen, Ben Gidley

This chapter explores how housing policies and the nature of housing stock have conditioned residential geographies and diversity patterns in two south London neighbourhoods, Bermondsey and Camberwell. The key drivers are policy changes to social housing allocation and the post-industrial reconfiguration of urban space expressed in processes of gentrification and the redevelopment of riverside docklands into expensive housing units. These developments have challenged existing narratives of community, but they have also shifted the focus of analytical enquiry towards emerging us-them divides based on class and generation. Within the context of diversity and social cohesion, both neighbourhoods are characterized by a comparatively unproblematic day-to-day muddling along with difference, but also a generally declining level of civic engagement and neighbourhood cohesion, expressed by a sense of ‘living together apart’.   >>> Download PDF (254KB) >>> View Chapter               

HOW TO CITE: Jensen, O. & Gidley, B. (2016) ‘They’ve Got Their Wine Bars, We’ve Got Our Pubs’: Housing, Diversity and Community in Two South London Neighbourhoods’, in Pastore, F. & Ponzo, I. (eds) Inter-group Relations and Migrant Integration in European Cities: Changing Neighbourhoods, Springer, pp. 19-38


VIDEO: The Flexible City – Everyday Urban Life

Via The World Bank:

The Flexible City – Everyday Urban Life Session: Ben Gidley (Oxford University)

Talks by Ben Gidley (University of Oxford), Ahmed Soliman (Alexandria University) and Colin McFarlane (Durham University). Ben Gidley presents findings from studies on urban migration and recommendations for municipal responses to challenges.

This is based on the Global Migration and the Future of the Cities project at COMPAS, part of the Oxford Future of Cities programme led by Steve Raynor and Michael Keith.


Conflicto y convivencia en los barrios urbanos diversos de Europa

New publication, in Spanish:

Nuevo libro colectivo sobre diversidad cultural y conflictos en la UE

Tras un año de intenso trabajo, se acaba de publicar en la editorial Tirant lo Blanch el volumen colectivo Diversidad cultural y conflictos en la Unión Europea. Implicaciones jurídico-políticas, editado por Ángeles Solanes, profesora de Filosofía del Derecho en la Universidad de Valencia. El libro es el fruto de una colaboración entre nueve miembros del proyecto de investigación “Derechos humanos, sociedades multiculturales y conflictos” y de autores invitados procedentes de la Universidad de Nantes y la Universidad de Oxford. A lo largo de sus 286 páginas se examinan de forma crítica y rigurosa cuestiones de indudable trascendencia y actualidad como las políticas urbanas en las ciudades globalizadas de Europa, los conflictos normativos en el ámbito familiar, las formas de violencia vinculadas a la diversidad y el papel del cine como instrumento para el conocimiento del otro. También se reflexiona sobre la importancia de los derechos humanos como guía de acción y mecanismo vertebrador de un pluralismo inclusivo, alejado de la estigmatización y criminalización de la diferencia.

Para consultar el índice y realizar la compra del libro, pinche aquí.

Portada

Resumen

  • El reto que plantea el incremento de la multiculturalidad en Europa obliga a revisar las tensiones que afectan a los derechos humanos. apostando por la necesidad de alcanzar una democracia que permita afrontar las demandas de la diversidad cultural. En diferentes Estados de la Unión Europea. han surgido con” flictos en torno al alcance general de los derechos de los extranjeros y al desafío que supone el acceso equitativo tanto al espacio público como a la distribución de poder y de recursos. atendiendo a los principios de libertad e igualdad. En este trabajo. se aborda la gestión de la diversidad cultural desde disciplinas como la sociología. la antropología. la ciencia política y el derecho. A partir de este enfoque multidimensional se propone un examen crítico y riguroso de cuestiones escogidas como las políticas públicas en el contexto europeo de las ciudades multiculturales. los conflictos en el ámbito familiar y las formas de vio” lencia vinculadas a la diversidad. Además. se analiza el papel que el cine juega como instrumento idóneo para ampliar el estudio de una realidad plural en la que es fundamental la presencia del “otro”. Este libro. en síntesis. reflexiona sobre la importancia de los derechos humanos como guía de acción y mecanismo vertebrador del pluralismo inclusivo. tratando de no criminalizar lo que la diferencia supone para la convivencia en las actuales democracias.

My chapter:

Ben Gidley: Conflicto y convivencia en los barrios urbanos diversos de Europa: reintroducir los derechos humanos y la justicia social en el debate sobre la integración, pp.31-44.

My chapter is based mainly on the projects Concordia Discors and Global Migration and the Future of the City. Here is the opening section in English: Continue reading


Servicing super-diversity

This is my latest COMPAS blog post. You can read the original here. The photos are by me.

In the 1890s, philanthropist Charles Booth and a team of assistants – the pioneers of sociological research in the UK – walked the whole of London, visually noting the wealth of each street’s inhabitants, to construct their Maps Descriptive of London Poverty. The maps coded streets by colour, with scarlet red and gold marking the “well-to-do” and the “wealthy”, dark blue and black representing the “casual poor” in “chronic want” and the
“vicious and semi-criminal” “lowest class”. Southwark, just across the Thames from the City of London, was a mass of dark colours.

A hundred years later, the New Labour government created an Index of Multiple Deprivation to map new forms of poverty, dark blue for most deprived and gold for least. Again, the northern wards of Southwark were swathed in darkness, with the area around Elephant and Castle especially dark blue.

article-2417820-1BC29DA8000005DC-217_634x428

More recently, the estate agents Savills has produced a different map of London, with dark blue representing areas where house prices were declining, and Booth’s scarlet red now used to mark zones moving “upmarket”. This time, in what the Economist called “the great inversion”, the former dark zones of Southwark had become vivid red property hotspots.

Elephant and Castle, in the heart of this area, exemplifies London’s sharp changes: commercial student housing, warehousing study migrants from the rising powers of Eastern Asia; luxury pied a terres in developments in a rebranded “South Central” quarter; social housing redevelopments that result in the decanting of long-term residents out to London’s far suburbs; a growing hub for Latin American enterprise.

Super-diversity at the local level

Elephant and Castle is also the site of a COMPAS project, Welfare, neighbourhood and new geographies of diversity. This project, along with an ESRC Knowledge Exchange Fellowship, were the source for February’s COMPAS Breakfast Briefing, presented by my COMPAS colleague Mette Louise Berg and me. We asked “How do local authorities deal with the increasing diversity of their clients and residents?” The Powerpoint presentation is online, and podcast and summary are coming soon.

IMG_3525_elephant_arches

Mette opened by describing the concept of “super-diversity” at the heart of our project, the intensifying diversity of forms of difference concentrated in one place, as defined by COMPAS founder Stephen Vertovec. Vertovec’s work has opened up a research agenda that I have been pursuing with Nando Sigona, Mette Berg and other colleagues in the last half decade, with a conference in Oxford, a workshop in Birmingham, and an edited collection. It also informed a Home Office study on the varying impacts of migration in local areas (subject of a previous Breakfast Briefing by Jon Simmons), which included “super-diverse London” as one of its geographical clusters.

The Welfare, neighbourhood and new geographies of diversity project, which also involves Caroline Oliver, Hiranthi Jayaweera and Rachel Humphris, as well as photographer Simon Rowe, takes this agenda forward by piloting ethnographic research on how diversity is patterned differently at different stages of the life course, and how this impacts on service provision in a super-diverse space.

Understanding Elephant

figure for BB blogpost

My contribution to the Breakfast Briefing was to present detailed census analysis done as part of the project by Anna Krausova, exploring different patterns of diversity across multiple axes of difference in an area circumscribed by a 1 mile radius from Elephant and Castle. Mette then presented some of the findings from the education and housing case studies of our qualitative research. Continue reading


Coming soon: Ethnography, Diversity and Urban Space, the book

Ethnography, Diversity and Urban Space
Edited by Mette Louise Berg, University of Oxford, UK, Ben Gidley, University of Oxford, UK and Nando Sigona, University of Birmingham, UK

Across Europe, multiculturalism as a public policy has been declared ‘dead’ but, everyday multiculture is alive and well. This book explores how people live with diversity in contemporary cities and towns across Europe. It weaves
together ethnographic case studies with contemporary social and cultural theory about urban space, migration, transnationalism and everyday multiculture.

This book was originally published as a special issue of Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power.

Published by Routledge.

Flyer: Ethnography, Diversity and Urban Space UK Flyer [20% discount!] [pdf]


Turning the Tide? Deptford regeneration event 25 April

This event is being organised by the Centre for Urban and Community Research (CUCR) as part of its twentieth anniversary, inaugurating a series of events that range from crime in urban Brazil to the global travel of flip-flops to the future of urban art.

Programme:
3.30 – 5.30 Seminar: The changing face of “regeneration” in London
Short initial interventions by: Alison Rooke, Michael Keith, Heidi Seetzen, Rob Imrie, Luna Glucksberg
5.30 – 6.00 Screenings and sound intervention: Creative Responses to Urban Change in Deptford (food and drinks provided)
6.00 – 8.00 Workshop: 21 Years of Urban Regeneration in Deptford
Short provocations by: Ben Gidley, Jess Steele, Jessica Leech, Neil Transpontine, and Joe Montgomery
Followed by roundtable discussions:
– Creative Deptford: arts, culture and regeneration
– Housing and neighbourhood
– DIY Deptford: regeneration from below?
– Convoys Wharf: regeneration or land grab?
– The changing face of Deptford: migration, identity, diversity and generation

CUCR blog link | Hashtags: #ttt21 #cucr20 | Email to register: f.calafate AT gold.ac.uk

The following day, the Radical Housing Network’s Housing Weekender will be in Lewisham.


Towards a transnational perspective on residential integration

As part of the European Interact project (“Researching Third Country Nationals’ Integration as a Three-way Process – Immigrants, Countries of Emigration and Countries of Immigration as Actors of Integration”), which explores migrant integration from a sending country perspective, I wrote, with Maria Luisa Caputo, a discussion paper entitled Residential Integration: Towards a Sending Country Perspective. Here is the report in the MPC repository; here is a direct link to the pdf; here is the paper on academia.edu.

Abstract
This position paper explores the key issues relating to how residential integration – a foundation dimension of migrant and minority integration – might be understood and further researched from a  “country of origin” perspective. A series of questions are addressed: Are there transnational residential strategies of migrants? Is residential integration an indicator of integration, e.g. can owning a house be an indicator of integration? Are residential patterns in the receiving country negotiated in any way by  the state of origin? And what is the role of home country institutions in assuring residential integration or separation? Looking at the nature and quality of the housing that minorities occupy, assessed in terms of factors such as tenure, overcrowding and disrepair, and at the patterns of migrant residence in receiving societies, including clustering or its absence, the paper covers the existing state of the art and methodology used in the field, before arguing for a shift to a country of origin perspective, beyond simply using country of origin as a variable in determining residential integration outcomes, but instead re-framing the issue in a transnational perspective. It introduces a new theoretical and methodological framing, shifting the emphasis from a static “social physics” to a processual, pathwayfocused approach. Continue reading


Michael Keith presentations and interviews

Here are some presentations by and interviews with the director of COMPAS, Michael Keith:

Neighbourhood Governance: government, community cohesion and integration The World in our Neighbourhoods (London Borough of Haringey), 2007 [ppt]

Migration and Integration: Myths and Realities (British Library), June 2009. [ppt/mp3]

Cohesion, Integration and 21st Century Migration (Demos Helsinki Sauna Academy), August 2009 [ppt]

The Future of Migration: EurAsylum interview with Michael Keith and Howard Duncan, March 2010 [html]

Migration and transnationalism: opportunities and challenges.International (Organisation for Migration, Geneva), March 2010 [ppt]

Migration and the journey to integration and community development (Inclusion, the key to prosperity. The dynamics of migration, poverty and social exclusion, European Commission, Praxis and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation), November 2010 [ppt]

Doug Saunders with Michael Keith as respondent: Arrival City: How migration is reshaping our world (RSA), May 2011 [Listen to the audio full recording including audience Q&A; Watch the video edited highlights]

The Human City (New Cities Forum plenary), June 2013


Nostalgia and diversity: Understanding integration at the local level

This was published in the COMPAS Blog in May 2013.

Bermondsey, Ben Gidley 2013

They never call it Bermondsey any more
A couple of weeks ago, in Bermondsey, South London with my colleagues Ole Jensen, Simon Rowe and Ida Persson, we met a man called Albert, at the entrance to his council flat. Born on Christmas Day 1926, Albert had lived his whole life in Bermondsey (apart from his national service at the end of the war, spent in Scandinavia). He had lived over half a century in his current flat, since it had been built as part of the massive post-war social democratic housing expansion whose legacy completely dominates the landscape of South London. He worked as a drayman at the Courage brewery, brought up three daughters and a son – and slowly watched his neighbourhood change almost beyond recognition.

The Metropolitan Borough of Bermondsey was merged into the London Borough of Southwark in 1965. Its town hall had been bombed in the war, and Bermondsey no longer exists as an administrative unit. “They never call it Bermondsey any more”, Albert insisted. At its height, the docks employed huge numbers of men; the Peek Frean biscuit factory employed thousands of women. The docks closed one by one from the 1960s, the brewery closed in 1981, and the biscuit factory houses work units for creative businesses. The council estates are no longer sites of utopian hope but now carry the stigma of residualised poverty. A tidal wave of gentrification ripples down from the riverside, and the UK’s decade of mass migration has transformed the demographics. Continue reading


The Athens Workshop: Global Migration and the Right to the Cities of the Future

The athens workshopHere is the programme of the Athens Workshop: Global Migration and the Right to the Cities of the Future, 7th of December 2012 (10.00-13.00 Presentations, 14.00- 15.30 Open Discussion), Harokopio University, El. Venizelou 70, Kallithea, Athens

– Prof. Michael Keith (Director of COMPAS, University of Oxford) – Migration and the rights to the city: rethinking the urban basis of integration
– Dr. Ben Gidley (Senior Researcher, COMPAS) – The changing face of the European city: Global migration, economic crisis, neighbourhood change and spatial exclusion
– Prof. T. Maloutas (EKKE National Centre of Social Research & Harokopio University) – Immigration, segregation and gentrification in Athens since the early 1990s.
-Ass. Prof. Apostolos Papadopoulos (Harokopio University) – African Migrants at the centre of Athens
– Dr. Vassilis Arapoglou (Department of sociology, University of Crete) – Governing the in-cohesive city: From basic assumptions to democratic passions.

Thanks to George Mavrommatis for co-organising

 


Changing London: Selling out

From The Economist:

Brixton, once the heart of black Britain, is now a black shopping destination

Hurry up, dear. I need to get back to Croydon

A GOOD deal has changed in Brixton, a south London district, since Eta Rodney bought her Victorian terraced house in 1980. Then many of her neighbours were, like her, Jamaican. West Indians had settled in Brixton since 1948, when some arrived on the Empire Windrush. Today many of Mrs Rodney’s black neighbours are selling up and moving out of the area, making way for predominantly white newcomers. Britain’s historic black centre is being transformed—but in an odd way.

An extract:

Yet there are many remnants of the old Brixton. In the streets outside Brixton Village it is still possible to buy plantains and chicken feet. Ben Gidley, a sociologist at Oxford University who is studying ethnic patterns of movement in south London, believes Brixton will hold onto its Afro-Caribbean culture longer than its Afro-Caribbean residents. It is becoming a new kind of ghetto, revolving around shopping rather than living.

[READ THE REST]

Not sure what I said exactly to be paraphrased like that…

 


Secret Streets

Drawn map of Deptford High Street, London

The Secret History of Our Streets has been a fascinating and brilliantly made BBC documentary series on London and its recentish historical geography. It tracks particular streets mapped by Charles Booth in the 1880s, with streets in Deptford, Camberwell, Bermondsey, Shoreditch, Caledonian Road and Notting Hill. The links in the previous sentence are to illuminating blog posts about these by Laura Vaughan of UCL’s Bartlett School. There’s also an Open University webpage and booklet with the series.

It’s quite strange for me, as I know Deptford High Street so well, and have recently been researching (with my colleague Ole Jensen) both Bermondsey and the very street in Camberwell, Camberwell Grove, the programme looks at.

The programmes have had some flaws, in particular the constant but un-articulated presence of the politics of race and racism, and occasional lapses into the kind of golden age discourse of nostalgia, melancholy and resentment that drives white backlash culture.

Here are some of the key links on the Deptford programme, which was both excellent TV and the most flawed of the series, via BfB: “Ken’s responsethe Brockley Central discussion thread,the Crosswhatfields postthe Deptford Dame’s responseCaroline’s comments… Bill [Ellson]’s post on sexy fish and the Les Back/Dawn Lyons production it links to.” In addition, read Bill’s return to the question of fish;  the definitive account of Deptford, Jess Steele’s Turning the Tide; and  Deptford: Putting the Record Straight, produced by friends and family of Nicholas Taylor.

If you are interested in Booth, read the Occasional paper I wrote about him [.pdf] a decade ago.