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Arrival City: How the Largest Migration in History Is Reshaping Our World Hardcover – March 22, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Pantheon (March 22, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375425497
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375425493
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,390,130 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In a globe-trotting narrative alive with on-the-ground reportage, journalist Saunders offers a cautionary but essentially optimistic perspective on global urbanization. He concentrates on the slums and satellite communities that act as portals from villages to cities and, in turn, revitalize village economies. Policy makers misunderstand at their peril these "arrival cities"—London's heavily Bangladeshi Tower Hamlets, Brazil's favelas, China's Shenzhen. Citing the statistical relationship between urbanization and falling poverty rates, as well as historical precedents like Paris ("the first great arrival city of the modern world"), Saunders insists urban migration means improvement overall, and that the arrival city serves as a springboard for the integration of new populations. While the picture of urbanization veers from gloomier forecasts by analysts like Mike Davis (Planet of Slums), it does so by eschewing direct questioning of the global economic system driving much of this migration. Barely addressed are food, energy, and water shortages, or the fact that healthy city growth requires preservation of surrounding ecosystems on which cities habitually wreak havoc. Saunders's narrative, however, does plead for rational and humane planning within global capitalism to ensure that arrival cities fulfill their purpose and achieve their potential. (Mar.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Review

“A brisk world tour of enormous urban-fringe neighborhoods populated by people who have left the countryside, among them Tartary, in west-central Poland; Kibera, in Nairobi; and Petare, in Caracas . . . Perhaps because Saunders is a journalist who isn’t selling his advice, his version of the city is . . . more persuasive.”
—Nicholas Leman, The New Yorker
 
“Saunders’s success stories tend to begin with benign neglect—as the arrival city takes its emergent form, dense and improvised—and to end with carefully tailored state interventions. These efforts typically go well beyond legal measures like title granting, he notes, to include ‘a wide and expensive range of government-funded services and supports.’ One does not need to be a cynic, alas, to suspect that cities and nations may not apply their best policies to their worst neighborhoods. But for those who are wise enough to try, Saunders has written the manual.”
—Jonathan Shainin, Bookforum
 
“[An] excellent account of how urban immigrant centers function in increasingly subtle ways, and how governments succeed and fail in managing them. . . . Arrival City asks that we take a closer look at urbanization before its mismanagement is further mistaken for the thing itself, and to recognize that a citified future is not necessarily a doomed one.”
—Jessica Loudis, NPR.org

“Serious, mightily researched, lofty and humane, Arrival City is packed with salient detail and could hardly be more timely. . . . Saunders’s optimistic book, which draws on the work of economists, sociologists and urban planners, feels as important in its way as was Jane Jacobs’s Death and Life of Great American Cities . . . It feels like a game changer; it should certainly be a policy changer.”
—Dwight Garner, The New York Times

“Life in the arrival city can be fragile, precarious and lonely. It can also be liberating, empowering and the path to economic success and personal fulfillment. Arrival City presents an optimistic and humane view of global urbanization. Let’s hope urban planners and politicians pay attention.”
—Melanie Kirkpatrick, Wall Street Journal

“A brisk world tour of enormous urban-fringe neighborhoods populated by people who have left the countryside, among them Tartary, in west-central Poland; Kibera, in Nairobi; and Petare, in Caracas . . . Perhaps because Saunders is a journalist who isn’t selling his advice, his version of the city is . . . more persuasive.”
—Nicholas Leman, The New Yorker
 
“Saunders’s success stories tend to begin with benign neglect—as the arrival city takes its emergent form, dense and improvised—and to end with carefully tailored state interventions. These efforts typically go well beyond legal measures like title granting, he notes, to include ‘a wide and expensive range of government-funded services and supports.’ One does not need to be a cynic, alas, to suspect that cities and nations may not apply their best policies to their worst neighborhoods. But for those who are wise enough to try, Saunders has written the manual.”
—Jonathan Shainin, Bookforum
 
“[An] excellent account of how urban immigrant centers function in increasingly subtle ways, and how governments succeed and fail in managing them. . . . Arrival City asks that we take a closer look at urbanization before its mismanagement is further mistaken for the thing itself, and to recognize that a citified future is not necessarily a doomed one.”
—Jessica Loudis, NPR.org
 
“With the voice of a seasoned reporter, Saunders writes compelling, first-hand narratives describing the challenges and triumphs of migrant families from across the globe . . . The major contribution of Arrival City is a call to take seriously the needs of immigrant communities in urban areas.”
—Chesa Boudin, San Francisco Chronicle

“Incisive study of worldwide rural-to-urban migration, its complex social mechanisms and the consequences of institutional neglect . . . Never speculative, Saunders dexterously weaves personal case studies—some of which are practically unspeakable and ultimately overwhelming—with the broader institutional context. An essential work for those who pay attention to the effects of globalization—which is, or at least should be, nearly everyone.”
Kirkus Reviews

 
FROM THE UK AND CANADA
Arrival City brilliantly captures the breakneck pace of this ‘great migration,’ as the peasants of the poor world relocate to their own megacities – and ours. And it brings profoundly good news from the mean streets . . . Bottom of Form
Doug Saunders, a Canadian journalist skilled in both colourful reportage and sustaining a good argument, provides a badly needed progressive and optimistic narrative about our future. This is the perfect antidote to the doom-laden determinism of the last popular book on urbanisation, Mike Davis's Planet of Slums . . . This may be the best popular book on cities since Jane Jacobs’s The Death and Life of Great American Cities half a century ago. Certainly, it shares the same optimism about human aspiration amid overcrowded buildings and unplanned urban jungles, and the same plea for planners to help rather than stifle those dreams . . . Few books can make rationalists feel optimistic and empowered for the future. This one does.’ —Fred Pearce, The Guardian
 
“Brilliantly researched, hugely valuable new book. . . . A testament to the value of research and knowledge. . . . Arrival City is a masterpiece of reporting, one of the most valuable and lucid works on public policy published anywhere in years. That Saunders produced it now, as journalism is moving more and more toward the temporary, makes it even more remarkable. As the business he works in strives every day to give consumers less information more often, Saunders does the opposite. He takes the long view. He questions perceived wisdom and finds answers in research, reporting and facts.”
––Richard Warnica, Edmonton Journal (review also appeared in The Vancouver Sun and The Gazette)
 
 “[This] book not only ranks as one of the year’s most engaging and important works of non-fiction. It gives a vital resource to everyone who wants to learn about the pursuit of the public good in an era of challenged or enfeebled nation-states. With sharply written case-studies from the favelas of Rio de Janeiro to the banlieues of Paris and the so-called ‘slums’ of Mumbai, Saunders shows that the ‘arrival city’ of informal communities, where migrants from rural hinterlands to urban centres gather, presents not simply one of the world’s most pressing problems. It also offers us the most promising solutions . . . For his part, Saunders extends the debate about globalisation and immigration to embrace the lessons of urban history. In his close attention to the voices of actual incomers – many of them Muslims in Europe, in all their diversity; even more not – he also supplies a hugely welcome antidote to the toxic nonsense about ‘Eurabia.’”
—Boyd Tonkin, Independent
 
“Provocative . . .  Arrival City addresses the great neglected trend of the 21st century: urbanisation. Travelling across the globe, from Rio de Janeiro’s favelas to Nairobi’s slums and Berlin’s Turkish enclave, Saunders weaves the tales of individual migrants through his vast story, that of the current, final great human movement – involving a third of our species – from the countryside to the city . . . A powerful work . . . But Arrival City is above all a warning. Migration is changing our world, and Saunders believes our reaction to it now will determine whether it can help eliminate poverty or whether it will cause catastrophe.”
—Rosamund Urwin, The Evening Standard
 
“Doug Saunders’s important new book, Arrival City, deals with an unglamorous but bitingly important issue: the largest ever human migration . . . While various academic titles have plumbed this phenomenon, no single book – until now – has breathed such life and human drama into it . . . The book engages while remaining serious. It pulls in the reader by centring its storyline on the fate of its numerous lead characters . . . The book tells a fascinating tale . . . Doug Saunders’s greatest strength lies in the global breadth of his reportage, which moves from the alleys of Mumbai to the soulless banlieues of Paris with the urgency of an international spy thriller. His evocative descriptions of open sewers, precarious dwellings, dark, dangerous spaces, noisy slum factories and the indomitable spirit of humanity transform a complex, serious subject into a page-turning read.”
—Eric Kaufmann, The Literary Review
 
“The book’s focus is not the migration itself, but what happens in the cities of arrival . . . Saunders’s approach is through anecdotes and vignettes, but he has done his legwork so they cumulate into a persuasive whole . . . Highly readable.”
—Paul Collier, The Financial Times
 
“Saunders looks beyond what he sees as a pretty transitional flight and instead focuses, to absorbing effect, on the destination cities . . . Recent books on the phenomenon of mass migration have been riddled with portents of gloom . . . Saunders’ thesis is far more positive…Serving as both a wide-ranging examination of ...


More About the Author

Doug Saunders is a Canadian-British author and journalist. He is the author of the book Arrival City (2011) and the London-based European bureau chief for The Globe and Mail. He writes a weekly column devoted to the larger themes and intellectual concepts behind international news, and has won the National Newspaper Award, Canada's counterpart to the Pulitzer Prize, on four occasions.

Customer Reviews

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This is very good book, full of provocative information and sound advice.
George Fulmore
As the population grows and people leave one type of life for another, it definitely affects the way the world looks as well as how we are able to deal with others.
Cyrus Webb
I would love to be more specific, but once the book is read you will be far more educated regarding this hot topic.
J W Bfield

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By GrannieB on April 24, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an important book. It will broaden your view of what is happening in the world today as millions of people set out to make new lives in new lands.

Almost everyone in the world is being affected, in some way, by this movement. They may live where new people are arriving. They may be the ones arriving. Or, perhaps, they are ones left behind, but benefitting from funds sent back.

Some of these relocations are successful. Others fail dismally. It is important that these inevitable movements of people do succeed because it influences the well being of everyone in a city, region, country, or, even, the world. Saunders takes a look at successes and failures over time and points out the important differences. There is a lot to be learned here.

However, I was very disappointed in the writing style. You would expect a respected journalist to write with clarity and a crisp lively style. Instead Saunders is prone to long, convoluted, run-on sentences that often take a careful parsing to find what he really intends to say. To compound matters, the huge numbers of asides, included in parenthesis, are nearly as complex as the rest of their sentence.

So, be forewarned. This book is definitely worth reading, but be prepared to work hard to get the valuable information it has to offer.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By George Fulmore on July 22, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is very good book, full of provocative information and sound advice. But it could have been much better. There is an organization problem. There are too many vignettes, too many arrival city examples, and too much detail to make the points the author wants to make. This leads to a great deal of duplication of information, especially when a point has already been made by an earlier example that is as good as or better than the new one. This organizational problem makes the book harder to read than it should be. At times, some of the detail gets tedious.

The good news is that the "meat" in the book makes reading it well worth reading.

The author's purpose is to tell us all about "arrival cities," their characteristics, how they can be made to work and how they can lead to failure. He also wants to give us examples of these communities in various places around the world. We get numerous detailed stories of people who move from a village to its related city. Arrival cities have the following characteristics:

* There is a communications network between the village(s) and the destination city.
* This network provides housing, job leads, community and security in the city.
* Those who move to the city send money back to the village to improve things there.
* Successful arrival cities allow a path to citizenship for foreigners, the possibility of owning a home, the opportunity to open a business and to get loans, and a path to the middle class, if not for the original immigrants, then for their offspring.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Cyrus Webb TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 22, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Some may consider it progression, but in author Doug Saunder's book ARRIVAL CITY we are asked to look at how our world is changing around us---and the role we are all playing in it whether we realize it or not.

As the population grows and people leave one type of life for another, it definitely affects the way the world looks as well as how we are able to deal with others. Saunders takes us into cultures and lands where we might not think we have any connection, and then he shows us how what happens halfway around the world does affect our lifestyle here.

You have only to look at the headlines of the day to see it to be true. Saunders' book is playing out right in front of us, and through his research we can better understand it and adapt rather than be left in the dark.

One thing that struck me is something that is universal: We are all busy, going about our lives, and sometimes we know so little about our very own surroundings. Forget about another country. To some, there own city is foreign to them. Looking at it through the lenses of Saunder's work, we can see that there are really more things that connect us than divide us.

ARRIVAL CITY isn't a book you will just skim through and put away. This is one you will be talking about for quite some time.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By D Taylor on June 21, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This reality check puts perspective to the life struggles of most of the planet's inhabitants. There was so much to identify with, yet so much to empathise with. It was an enlightening account, that empowers one to do the right thing and appreciate all the different cultures for what each group brings to our world.

A must-read book as it so cleverly shows our common humaness rather than our differences so often witnessed in all the popular media.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By DTE on July 5, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I would recommend this book for people interested in Urban Geography, the developing world, assimilation of immigrants, and/or what the future holds for the world. I would also say it should be a must-read for virtually any government official at any governmental level anywhere in the world. (It would be interesting to know what percentage of these people actually read books and articles in an attempt to do their jobs better)

What I enjoyed about it specifically
- It had a main term "arrival city" and the author explains and illustrates why these places are so important. Arrival cities are places where people(or really more often families) can transition their lives so that in a generation or two, despite early hardships, their rural-to-urban migration has transformed their lives from simple survival to ones of relative comfort. If this is not how the area is functioning, it is not an arrival city, it is just a slum or ethnic enclave that is ultimately a failure both for its residents, and for that society as a whole.
- The author examines these places not just to show the reader the pains of poverty, but to really try and discover why some of them "work" while others don't. Mainly this revolves around having government policies that accept the reality of rapid urbanization and looking to what policies have worked well elsewhere. The author does well at constructing an argument for how to best do this (which most of the arrival city residents he spoke with would agree)- basically give these people some basic economic and political rights, relax some rules like land zoning, and these folks will pull themselves up.
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