Wondering how architecture and planning influence the settlement, integration, and well-being of immigrants and refugees? Find out by watching the full Webinar reply below.
Among the aspects of newcomer settlement and integration that we usually emphasize such as
language, education, skills, discrimination, respect for rights, we rarely include architecture
and urban planning. And yet, if we think about what makes immigrants, refugees, and asylum
seekers feel comfortable in a new society, allows them to feel that they belong there, the built
environment is significant. Whether the homes they live in, the shops they visit, the places of
worship in which they gather, the schools they and their children attend, the spaces in which
they can socialize, the design of the buildings and their location relative to one another, all of
these affect the quality of their lives. Informal neighbourhoods in developing countries often
arise without the hand of professional architects or planners, yet bear identifiable cultural
hallmarks. Urban plans of cities in the West tend to ignore the cultural differences among
their residents, and architectural designs, whether mandated by regulations or not, tend to
reflect the mainstream populations’ preferences. But when newcomer neighbourhoods
become larger and more highly concentrated as in modern middle class suburban ethnic
enclaves or in arrival spaces for large numbers of refugees and asylum seekers, the effects of
architecture and urban plans can become acute.
Metropolis International, established in 1996, is the largest cross-sectoral international
network of professionals in the field of migration, integration/inclusion, and diversity. It
provides an international platform for constructive dialogue and effective production &
dissemination of policy-relevant, socially-meaningful, and evidence-based knowledge across
the policy, research, civil society, and private sectors.