Broadening the Urban Planning Repertoire with an ‘Arrival Infrastructures’ Perspective

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-7635

Article | Open Access

Broadening the Urban Planning Repertoire with an ‘Arrival Infrastructures’ Perspective


  • Bruno Meeus Human Geography and Planning, Utrecht University, The Netherlands / Interculturalism, Migration and Minorities Research Centre (IMMRC), University of Leuven, Belgium
  • Luce Beeckmans Department of Architecture and Urban Planning, Ghent University, Belgium
  • Bas van Heur Cosmopolis Centre for Urban Research, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium
  • Karel Arnaut Interculturalism, Migration and Minorities Research Centre (IMMRC), University of Leuven, Belgium


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Abstract:  In this article we propose an arrival infrastructure’s perspective in order to move beyond imaginaries of neighbourhoods as a ‘port of first entry’ that are deeply ingrained in urban planning discussions on migrants’ arrival situations. A focus on the socio-material infrastructures that shape an arrival situation highlights how such situations are located within, but equally transcend, the territories of neighbourhoods and other localities. Unpacking the infrastructuring work of a diversity of actors involved in the arrival process helps to understand how they emerge through time and how migrants construct their future pathways with the futuring possibilities at hand. These constructions occur along three dimensions: (1) Directionality refers to the engagements with the multiple places migrants have developed over time, (2) temporality questions imaginaries of permanent belonging, and (3) subjectivity directs attention to the diverse current and future subjectivities migrants carve out for themselves in situations of arrival. This perspective requires urban planners to trace, grasp and acknowledge the diverse geographies and socio-material infrastructures that shape arrival and the diverse forms of non-expert agency in the use, appropriation and fabrication of the built environment in which the arrival takes place.

Keywords:  arrival infrastructures; immigrant neighbourhoods; migration; urban diversity

Published:   28 July 2020


DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/up.v5i3.3116


© Bruno Meeus, Luce Beeckmans, Bas van Heur, Karel Arnaut. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.