The Role of Arrival Areas for Migrant Integration and Resource Access

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-7635

Article | Open Access

The Role of Arrival Areas for Migrant Integration and Resource Access

  • Heike Hanhörster Urban Social Space Research Group, Research Institute for Regional and Urban Development, Germany
  • Susanne Wessendorf International Inequalities Institute, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK / Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations, Coventry University, UK

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Abstract:  Research on socio-economically disadvantaged neighbourhoods with high numbers of migrants tends to problematise such areas as hindering upward social mobility and further enhancing disadvantage. However, an emerging body of research on arrival areas is highlighting how such areas can provide newcomers with specific arrival resources, helping them to come to grips with their new circumstances. This article provides a conceptual overview and discussion of this newly emerging body of literature on urban arrival areas in the Global North. It argues that arrival areas offer infrastructures which can provide important support for newcomers, ranging from overcoming day-to-day problems to potentially enabling social mobility. In many cases, previous migrants act as knowledge brokers facilitating newcomers’ access to resources. The article shows how different forms of arrival-specific knowledge can be found in these areas, facilitating the exchange of resources across different migrant groups and across localities. However, arrival-specific infrastructures can be both enabling and disabling with regard to social mobility, as they often emerge in contexts of underlying disadvantage and discrimination where access to resources such as housing and jobs can be highly contentious. The article argues that understanding the dynamics of urban arrival areas and infrastructures and their specific role in providing resources for newcomers can contribute to our knowledge on integration and help us rethink the role of policymaking and urban planning in increasingly complex and mobile urban societies.

Keywords:  arrival areas; arrival infrastructures; diversity; integration; migration



© Heike Hanhörster, Susanne Wessendorf. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.