ReROOT | Arrival Infrastructures as Sites of Integration for Recent Newcomers
In the past century, millions of people have moved in and out of Europe and over time, their pathways have been forming a rich arrival infrastructure. Here, newcomers negotiate their possible futures with the resources that civil servants, old and new friends, family members, employers and many others are providing.
ReROOT is a project that attests to the numerous constraints set on people’s futures, but also to the efforts and energies that construct lively new worlds within the arrival infrastructure. Worlds, where the horizons of the possible are opened up.
In nine pilot sites, ReROOT amplifies some of the diverse voices in the arrival infrastructure to learn from these struggles and achievements. Through a joint effort of 12 academic and civil society organisations, these nine pilot sites create a vibrant network of perspectives and skillsets – from policy makers and researchers to newcomers, social workers and community-driven organizations. By bringing together expertise in many shapes and types, ReROOT aims to foster sustainable, evidence-based integration practices, policies and wider public imaginaries.
Therefore, ReROOT partners co-create hands-on training materials for municipalities, civil society and social professionals in order to learn how to advocate for the local arrival infrastructure they care about, want to understand and help to open-up.
This field site is situated in Belgium, the Netherlands, as well as on the North Sea coast. It is constituted of multiple co-constructed and interrelated environments, ranging from online networks and platforms to private homes, squats, camps in rural and urban areas, churches, organized shelters, parks and the streets. These places have various degrees of accessibility, account for different temporalities and are subject to changeability and ruination. This complex topography, durability and directionality and the precarious mobile dwelling and navigating that happens within, engendered various ‘mobile commons’ of care. These, together with small-scale civic organizations as well as infrastructuring practices of volunteers, activists and, most importantly, the im/e/migrating people, co-constitute the site.
This research site in the Greek Thessaly region comprises the conurbations of Karditsa and Katerini and their rural hinterlands where agriculture, agricultural processing industry and tourism employ a variety of people on the move. Local social economies and grassroots solidarities co-shape the integration and mobility dynamics of seasonal workers, asylum seekers and refugees with a variety of geographical backgrounds including the Balkans (mainly Albanians), Syria, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan and more recently the African continent.
This site revolves around the mobile lifeworlds of agricultural labour migrants in the Westland area in the Netherlands and Sint–Truiden in Belgium. The ethnographic vantage points are the work sites/farms/greenhouses but will also include other places where labour migrants find housing, spend leisure time and socialise extending the site to cities such as Rotterdam, the Hague and Brussels.
Thessaloniki is a metropolitan city in North Greece and a major urban hub of migrants’ mobility paths to the EU (through the Balkan route) and to South Greece and Athens. The site research focuses on housing occupations in abandoned buildings, homeless migrants occupying abandoned train wagons and migrants’ shops, restaurants, cafes, mini markets and barber shops.
West African migrants in France have developed established arrival infrastructures, notably in the migrant hostels – or foyers – organized by the French state which turned into migration infrastructures by generations of migrants. East African migrants have a much less established migration history and combine distinct patterns of arrival. The Paris research site focuses on dynamics around housing and livelihoods, in and beyond the foyers. Through this lens, site researchers delineate the temporal, spatial, material, and social differences and convergences in the processes of arrival, transit, and settlement of (mainly) African migrants from distinct countries.
Nordstadt is a dense urban neighbourhood located in the centre of Dortmund in Germany. It was established as a working class neighbourhood in the 19th century and has been further shaped by a multitude of forms of ‘bottom-up’ and ‘top-down’ arrival infrastructuring. The site research investigates the tension between institutionalization through time and transformative change through the arrival of newcomers.
Barking and Dagenham
Barking & Dagenham is a growing outer London borough. Much of the historical population growth locally was through migration from overcrowded inner London boroughs, and international arrivals to counteract post-war labour shortages. More recently, there has been significant growth in residents born outside the UK and Ireland, and ethnic diversity has grown rapidly and substantially. Barking & Dagenham is also among England’s most deprived Local Authorities, particularly in terms of barriers to housing and services. The borough’s Cohesion and Integration Strategy seeks to both address deprivation – ensuring ‘no one left behind’ – and to connect people across different backgrounds.
The localities of Aksaray, Laleli and Kumkapi located in the historical district of Fatih in Istanbul form a transnational migration hub that connects Middle East, Central Asia, Eastern Europe, North Africa and South/Southeast Asia. These localities are also known for their vibrant commercial/wholesale trade scenery. Aksaray and Laleli have been marked by rapid trade and tourism-related commercialization, while Kumkapi has mostly remained a residential area, providing housing infrastructure for long-term inhabitants, passers-by, and newcomers, although trade and tourism related transformations have also started impacting the area more in recent years.
The research site Budapest takes Semmelweis University, ELTE and the University of Miskolc as starting points to investigate the arrival infrastructure for international students studying in Hungary. The site research covers social networks, housing, parochial spaces, online platforms, events, cultural practices, NGOs, etc. – all ‘sites’ that students make use of, invest in, occupy and transform during their time as students in Hungary.