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Immigration and urban change in North America’s aspiring gateways

Authors: Yolande Pottie-Sherman*, Memorial University
Topics: Immigration/Transnationalism, Urban Geography, Urban and Regional Planning
Keywords: immigration, urban geography, Rust Belt, local immigration activism, cities, Atlantic Canada, Canada
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Recent research in migration studies highlights the need to study im/migrant experiences in
peripheral locations outside of traditional immigrant destinations. This paper introduces a new
concept: the aspiring gateway, to describe places that have small foreign born populations but
actively aspire to become welcoming, new destinations. I focus on im/migrant attraction and
inclusion projects in cities and communities in the U.S. Rust Belt and Atlantic Canada. These
two areas share problems of economic downturn, population aging, rural decline, and regional
stereotyping; and, emerging policy narratives suggest that the former should look to Atlantic
Canada as an immigration model designed to address these problems. Drawing on 34 in-depth
interviews and policy document analysis covering 16 cities (i.e., Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Buffalo,
Dayton, Toledo, St. Louis; Halifax, St. John’s, Charlottetown, Moncton), this paper considers
what these two regions can learn from one another’s respective experiences with im/migration related
urban change.

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