Synopses & Reviews
Look around: the largest migration in human history is under way. For the first time ever, more people are living in cities than in rural areas. Between 2007 and 2050, the world’s cities will have absorbed 3.1 billion people. Urbanization is the mass movement that will change our world during the twenty-first century, and the “arrival city” is where it is taking place.
The arrival city exists on the outskirts of the metropolis, in the slums, or in the suburbs; the American version is New York’s Lower East Side of a century ago or today’s Herndon County, Virginia. These are the places where newcomers try to establish new lives and to integrate themselves socially and economically. Their goal is to build communities, to save and invest, and, hopefully, move out, making room for the next wave of migrants. For some, success is years away; for others, it will never come at all.
As vibrant places of exchange, arrival cities have long been indicators of social health. Whether it’s Paris in 1789 or Tehran in 1978, whenever migrant populations are systematically ignored, we should expect violence and extremism. But, as the award-winning journalist Doug Saunders demonstrates, when we make proper investments in our arrival cities—through transportation, education, security, and citizenship—a prosperous middle class develops.
Saunders takes us on a tour of these vital centers, from Maryland to Shenzhen, from the favelas of Rio to the shantytowns of Mumbai, from Los Angeles to Nairobi. He uncovers the stories—both inspiring and heartbreaking—of the people who live there, and he shows us how the life or death of our arrival cities will determine the shape of our future.
"In a globe-trotting narrative alive with on-the-ground reportage, journalist Saunders offers a cautionary but essentially optimistic perspective on global urbanization. He concentrates on the slums and satellite communities that act as portals from villages to cities and, in turn, revitalize village economies. Policy makers misunderstand at their peril these 'arrival cities' London's heavily Bangladeshi Tower Hamlets, Brazil's favelas, China's Shenzhen. Citing the statistical relationship between urbanization and falling poverty rates, as well as historical precedents like Paris ('the first great arrival city of the modern world'), Saunders insists urban migration means improvement overall, and that the arrival city serves as a springboard for the integration of new populations. While the picture of urbanization veers from gloomier forecasts by analysts like Mike Davis (Planet of Slums), it does so by eschewing direct questioning of the global economic system driving much of this migration. Barely addressed are food, energy, and water shortages, or the fact that healthy city growth requires preservation of surrounding ecosystems on which cities habitually wreak havoc. Saunders's narrative, however, does plead for rational and humane planning within global capitalism to ensure that arrival cities fulfill their purpose and achieve their potential. (Mar.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
About the Author
A panoramic and thoroughly researched account—at once ambitious and accessible—of the urban migrations that are reshaping our world.
What will be remembered about our century, perhaps more than anything except global warming, is the final shift of human populations from agricultural life to cities, the effects of which are being felt around the world. Arrival City gives us an on-the-ground view of this phenomenon—from Maryland to Shenzhen, from the favelas of Rio to the shanty towns of Mumbai, from Los Angeles to Nairobi. Doug Saunders introduces us to the migrants themselves, and with the aid of their stories elucidates their essential part in the economic fabric. He makes clear that the cities and nations that provide citizenship and opportunity to migrants stand to benefit as the migrant class evolves into a middle class, and he explains why those that ignore these people will see increased social unrest, poverty, and religious fundamentalism.
Blending intimate personal portraits with brilliant social analysis, Arrival City will change the way we think about globalization.