New migration and superdiverse neighbourhoods

Superdiversity, new migration and
superdiverse neighbourhoods
Dr Simon Pemberton
Keele University
[email protected]
• First new United Kingdom
university of the 20th
century (1949).
• UK’s largest integrated
campus university and
occupies a 617 acre
• 19th century Keele Hall,
has Grade II registration
with English Heritage.
• c. 10,000 students.
• 1,700 staff.
The politics of managed migration –
EU and UK
“Cameron pledge to restrict migrant benefits”
“It is time for a new settlement which recognises that free movement is a central principle
of the EU but it cannot be a completely unqualified one”.
(Daily Telegraph 27/11/13)
Key proposals:
• Migrants stopped from claiming out-of-work benefits for first three months in UK.
• Those who do claim now only able to claim benefits for a maximum of six months.
• A “minimum earnings threshold”.
• Those sleeping rough deported.
“Far reaching economic and social consequences of EU freedom of movement laws”.
“Only a few are familiar with conventions of neighbourly co-existence”.
“Kindergeld” (200 Euros/month vs 16 Euros/month).
The politics of managed migration
• Lazlo Andor (EU Employment Commissioner) –
“Britain risks being the nasty country of the EU”
“Reaction in UK based on hysteria”
• UK govt figures 2011/12: only 7% claiming
income/employment related benefits (31% EU)
Poverty migration vs benefit tourism.
Spatiality of migration flows.
Privileging of certain groups over others.
Structure and Agency.
Employment, welfare and immigration policy.
• The increasing “superdiversity” of
• “Diversity that supersedes anything previously
experienced” (Vertovec, 2012).
• Emergence of “new” migration early 1990s.
• Fragmented – from many migrants from a few
countries to a few from many.
• Multi-layered – indigenous/old migrant/ new
migrant communities.
Old and New Migrants in Birmingham 2011
• Complex - no longer just about a limited number of
nationalities (country of origin), languages and faith
• Not enough to see diversity as just about
• Variety of legal statuses (asylum seekers, refugees,
students; labour migrants).
• Variety of rights and entitlements.
• Variety of mobilities.
• Newcomers can be white and can face some of the same
challenges as any other migrant.
• Living in new places previously untouched by immigration
– are “spatial pioneers”.
• Since 1990 - >26 million documented migrants
have entered the EU15 (Boeri, 2011).
• 1.2 million migrants arriving in Australia
between 2000 and 2010.
• 3.8 million arriving in England and Wales
between 2001 and 2011 (ONS, 2012).
• Milan - 19% of the population are born
overseas and have arrived from 138 different
countries (Comune di Milano, 2008).
• London (29% from ethnic minority
backgrounds, over 170 countries (GLA, 2005).
• Amsterdam (45% born overseas, from 170
countries (City of Amsterdam, 2012).
Superdiversity by self-declared ethnicity and sub-regions of birth
New migration and superdiverse
• Studies on superdiversity associated with new
migrant flows.
• BUT virtually no attention given to the functional
role played by superdiverse neighbourhoods.
• What influence do superdiverse neighbourhoods
have on residents’ decisions about whether to
move to, stay, or remain .
Traditional studies – “Zones of
• Majority of newcomers to existing areas of diversity.
• Superdiverse contact zones (Robinson et al., 2007),
transition zones (Park and Burgess, 1925) or escalator
areas (Travers et al., 2007).
• Attention on new migrants’ impact upon
neighbourhoods – services.
• Transition zones often viewed as problematic.
• High levels of mobility.
• Low levels of property maintenance, and an associated
low levels of social cohesion (Travers et al., 2007).
Traditional studies - 3 main areas…
1. Structural, individual and ‘area’ influences on locational
choices of new immigrants.
Related to:
• Individual resources of immigrants plus 'area'
• High levels of ethnic diversity, deprivation and private
rented housing.
• But no reference to superdiverse neighbourhoods as ‘zones
in transition’.
Traditional studies……
2.Problems and issues associated with migrant
'place-making' (for example, see Gill, 2010).
Issues of :
•common identity
•Lack of affinity to existing migrant structures (Gill
2010, 1170).
Traditional studies
3. Place experiences / impacts of new
Related to:
• Shared norms
• Peer influence
• Family support
• Availability / quality of role models.
• Relationship between neighbourhood
characteristics and decisions about movement
not adequately conceptualized.
• Neighborhood effects studies, by their focus
on structural factors, often disregard human
Robinson (2010): explaining geographical
variations in local experiences of new
i) Collective explanations.
ii) Contextual explanations.
iii) Compositional explanations.
• Sociocultural and historical
features of communities.
• History of norms and values
associated with identities.
• History and extent of
accommodation of diversity
and cultural differences.
• Extent of shared
understandings and practices.
• Amount of contact and
interaction between different
• Opportunity structures in the
physical and social environment.
• Levels of deprivation and
disadvantage / affluence.
• Availability and targeting of
resources (such as housing,
services and community facilities).
• Actions of a range of actors from
the public, private and voluntary
sectors in facilitating, supporting
and mediating the effects of new
immigrant arrivals.
• Who lives in a place.
• Characteristics of the local population –
both established and newly arrived.
• Socio-economic circumstances and
personal resources of such individuals
are important (including financial and
social capital).
• Ethnic and cultural identity.
• Legal status and associated rights,
responsibilities and opportunities of new
immigrants (BUT informed by policies of
‘managed migration’ by the state).
• ‘New’ migrants – arrived in last 5
• Those outside EU (Handsworth).
• A8 (Kensington and Handsworth).
Case Studies
• 3 main phases:
I) Arrival of post-commonwealth
migrants in the 1950s to
II) Dispersal of asylum seekers
from 1990 to the present day
III) Arrivals of Accession country
migrants from 2004.
• 41318 migrants from 187
different countries between
2007 and 2010
• Handsworth - long history of
diversity and houses residents
who have arrived from 170
different countries.
• Long history of immigration
associated with its role as a 19th
Century port.
• Population is less ethnically
• However, the ethnic minority
population more than doubled
between 2001 and 2011 – the
fastest increase of any UK city.
• Post-commonwealth and EU
Accession country migration
being prominent.
• Kensington - ethnic minorities in
the area increasing from 5% in
2001 to over 25% in 2011.
• More recently diversifying.
Key influences on moving to a
superdiverse neighbourhood
• Collective – some influence – diversity
important for non-EU migrants – avoid
racism - but not A8.
• Contextual – more important for all.
• Cheap property; good transport/access to
• But lack of choice important for asylum
seekers / A8 workers (housing tied to
• We were put up by the Czech work
agency. They picked us up at Manchester
airport and brought us straight here
(Slovakian Woman).
Key influences on moving to a
superdiverse neighbourhood
• ESOL classes attraction for new (nonEU) migrants .
• Cultural / religious and retail facilities
important for both non-EU migrants and
• There are lots of Polish shops in the area
around Rookery Road and Soho Road.
We can buy everything we need in the
local area. (Polish woman).
• Availability of schools and housing to
accommodate an extended family were
also important for new migrants.
Key influences on moving to a
superdiverse neighbourhood
• Compositional - new nonEU migrants in Handsworth
and A8s in Kensington
mentioned the importance
of friends and family.
• Help to settle vs access to
cheap housing.
• Sharing to reduce rent
contributions was a
pragmatic strategy.
Key reasons for staying in a
superdiverse neighbourhood
• Collective features – continue to be
important - less subject to racism
and discrimination a major reason to
• Where had begun to move - colocating to avoid racism.
• Contextually - requirement to
minimize rental payments still
• Accessibility to transport and
proximity to work too.
• New factor - maintaining stability of
children’s education.
Key reasons for staying in a
superdiverse neighbourhood
• Some A8 migrants in Kensington had
invested in maintaining their rented
• Presence of local religious facilities
proved to be slightly more important for
A8 and non-EU migrants in Handsworth.
• Key difference - importance placed on
the presence of ethnic businesses,
shops, access to a local GP and the
availability of places to meet for non-EU
migrants compared to those from the
• Differential ability to utilize such
Key reasons for staying in a
superdiverse neighbourhood
• A8 businesses more recent and less traction in
terms of migrants’ decisions to stay.
• A8s less inclined to register with a local GP (A+E).
• In Kensington, A8 migrants highlighted local
environment as a reason to remain – surprising?
• Compositional - opportunity to remain with
family or extended families:
• The house next to mine, my wife's sister lives
there. The house opposite to mine, my wife's
sister lives there. The house next to that house,
another sister of my wife again! …. In the next
street there is my mother-in-law with her English
partner and in another house in the next street is
who?... My wife's grandma! (Czech Man).
• Friends / ability to mix with individuals with
similar social class, ethnicity or religious beliefs
Key influences on moving from
superdiverse neighbourhood
• Collective explanations for moving from superdiverse neighbourhoods - did not
feature widely.
• But A8 migrants uncomfortable with “too much diversity” and intra-community
• “UK is very diverse, a problem for some Poles. Polish men find it difficult to mix
there is a little bit of racism, they do not view BMEs in a good light” (Polish Man).
• “I am increasingly unhappy about the relationships in this house, with my
(migrant) neighbours. The tension is strong and I am thinking about moving to
another place” (Polish Woman).
• Non-EU migrants - cited examples where there
had been conflict, between “Blacks and Arabs
and Asians and Blacks” (Kurdish Man).
Key influences on moving from
superdiverse neighbourhood
• Contextual - four main
commonalities across both
areas and each group of
1) the need to move to access
2) for addressing housing needs
(non-EU family; A8 – minimise
3) for a better environment.
4) to escape feelings of being
• These issues are inter-related.
Key influences on moving from
superdiverse neighbourhood
• Fundamental issue - feeling unsafe - moves
beyond opportunity structures per se.
• You say you live in Handsworth and they say: ‘my
God how can you live there’….the reputation is
scary (African Woman).
• Handsworth concerns based on reputation, but
in Kensington some A8 migrants had been
physically attacked.
• Compositional explanations - few individuals in
either area suggesting that family or friend
relations impinged on decisions to leave.
• But willing to move away to access better quality
• All three explanations feature in the decision
making of non-EU and A8 migrants but varies.
• Categorisation overlooks individual nuances.
• Early stages - McDowell (2009, p.27) –
‘whiteness’ of A8 migration and consequent
invisibility – easier blending.
• Later stages – while non-EU migrants actively
sought to move out to other diverse areas, A8s
were keen to move away from diversity.
Implications 1
• Robinson’s (2010) framework less helpful to comprehend
agentic responses to particular situations.
• Mechanism to understand emotional and psychological
• Adaptation processes to different types of stress / adversity /
1) seek to change the environment;
2) adapt their behaviour by moving or attempting to ‘blend in’;
3) undergo a process of cognitive change by thinking differently
perhaps 'hunkering down‘.
• ‘Help seeking’ of new migrants may vary by place and require
different institutional responses.
Implications 2
• Contextual features offer greatest potential for
targeting by policymakers – housing; employment
availability; cultural facilities.
• But need to be coupled with collective features openness to diversity and difference.
• Such attitudes not manufactured overnight.
• Compositional factors (“people like me”) can
provide language skills/ cultural knowledge needed
when settling in.
Implications 3
• Rather than stabilise, invest in creating quality
transition zones.
• Help people find their feet quickly before they return
home or move to other, more stable, areas.
• Planners to plan and accommodate for change rather
than stability (Porter and Davoudi, 2012).
• Focus on superdiverse neighbourhoods that are “truly
‘in transition’ (Downey and Smith 2011, 39).
Final thoughts
1. Concept of superdiversity currently doesn’t figure at national
government level. Simplicity not complexity.
2. Non-jargonistic, practical and policy-relevant reports / information
3. Planning policies and practises increasingly flexible.
4. Acknowledge that ‘superdiversity’ can have positive/negative
5. ‘Asset’ based model of superdiverse communities, rather than ‘deficit’
• “In a city like Birmingham, which is home to
more than 180 nationalities, we need to take a
broader planning approach. Places of worship,
public spaces, education and health resources,
and housing and employment opportunities
shouldn’t be designed on a neighbourhood-byneighbourhood basis. Instead we need to ensure
that our super-diverse, city-wide population can
access these resources wherever they are, but at
the same time acknowledging that not everyone
currently has the capacity or ability to do so.”