Landing The need for a renewed urban vocabulary for hospitality (and the city)

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Within the framework of recent socio-demographic changes, migratory flows have gained a crucial role in the European context, challenging territories and cities, opening up renewed questions for urban governance. Along the migrant trajectory, the paper focuses on migrants’ first arrival in the city and on first reception dynamics, addressing a phase preceding settlement and rather regarding populations with a temporary perspective in the relation to the territory. The work considers the case of Milan, which in Italy has particularly experienced the temporary dimension of first arrival, being until 2015 a transit area and then quickly turning into an arrival city. Assuming the background of existing policies, the work draws on a qualitative observation of Milanese first reception, with specific attention to hospitality “practices”, broadly defined. The observed scenarios show an oversimplified answer to the conditions of temporary populations, often translated in “exceptional” reception spaces and emergency-based policies. The work argues the urgency of a renewed and more complex definition of arriving migrants’ condition and the relevance of existing practices as a powerful mean to challenge ordinary urban governance tools. Questioning the common understanding of arrival may be the first move to imagine the transition towards alternative urban futures and structurally receptive cities.
migrants’ first arrival, first reception, temporary vs permanent, Milan