Immigrants as agents of urban transformation: testing new typologies and new bridges between concepts and empiricism

Thumbnail Image
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Research Projects
Organizational Units
Journal Issue
The paper reflects on migrations and discusses how the role of immigrants in cities can be assessed. In a complex context of migrations and urban transformations I explore the relationship between these two components. Is the role of immigrants in urban spaces analysed by policy makers? Is the diversity of migrants and foreigners considered on urban planning and housing policies? What categories of immigrants do government agencies and supranational institutions contemplate? Do the variables considered when categorizing immigrants express the complex reality of migration? These are some of the questions that guided the reflections presented here. Being an exploratory work I will not seek to answer these questions but rather to critically discuss their pertinence. In the Portuguese context this discussion is relevant due to territorial imbalances and inconsistencies, affordable housing shortages and enhancing discourses on the value of the contribution immigrants make. When studying immigrants and foreigners who enter and remain in Portugal, it is clear, that the new and overlapping situations do not fit the traditional categories of immigration and tourism. Thus I propose a set of categories more adjusted to these circumstances considering immigrants and foreigners in the cities, their housing needs and specificities. Methodologically, the research consisted of a literature review and was carried out employing analysis of several laws and documents focusing conditions for entry and to stay on Portugal and the right to housing. The paper is divided into four sections. Section one gives a brief overview of the migrations complexities and some problems and challenges arising from this situation. Particular attention is paid to the migration studies and to the impacts of migration flows in cities. Throughout the section two I discuss the concept of immigrant and the way this one is operationalized in legal and administrative categories. This analysis confirms that traditional categories of migrants weren’t broadened by the inclusion of the effects of migrations in the urban spaces. Recognizing this gap, in section three I propose a new approach who consider the impacts of immigrants and foreigners in the city, especially in its housing component. For the drawing of this exploratory typology I considered the situation in the Portugal, namely in the city of Lisbon. Conclusions are outlined in the last section.
Book of proceedings: Annual AESOP Congress, Spaces of Dialog for Places of Dignity, Lisbon, 11-14th July, 2017
All rights reserved