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Arrival Infrastructures and Migrant Newcomers in European Cities (AIMEC)
Client:Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
Partner(s):Prof. Dr. Susanne Wessendorf, Coventry University (UK) (Lead); Prof. Dr. Karel Arnaut, KU Leuven (BE)
Time frame:03/2021 – 08/2023

The project „Arrival Infrastructures and Migrant Newcomers in European Cities“ (AIMEC) investigates how different arrival-specific infrastructures strengthen newcomers' access to resources. The project is funded by the British

Economic and Social Research Council (ESCR). ILS is collaborating with Coventry University in the UK (project lead) and KU Leuven in Belgium. By comparing arrival neighbourhoods in Dortmund, London and Brussels, the project’s aim is to identify different types of infrastructures and the role, the different national integration regimes and local contexts play in the arrival and settlement of newcomers.

In the city of Dortmund, the borough Nordmarkt within district Nordstadt is selected as the case study. Taking traditional arrival neighbourhoods as a starting point, the project examines the role local actors and institutions play in the integration of migrant newcomers. It analyses the different channels through which newcomers obtain information and further support regarding various aspects of their arrival (housing, education, leisure, labour market etc.). Those infrastructures may be more institutionalised (such as information centres or language cafés) or informal (such as local businesses). The project is especially interested to understand how people with arrival knowledge act themselves as "arrival brokers" and in the relationships between longer established and newly arrived migrants.

The research design, which is implemented in the three case studies in parallel, combines qualitative and quantitative methods, including mapping, participatory observations, surveys and interviews. This innovative approach allows for the first time a typification of different arrival-specific infrastructures and an analysis of their impact on the arrival and social mobility of migrants. ILS is responsible for the development and monitoring of a comparative street mapping characterising potential arrival infrastructures and brokering spaces at the central high street. The research process is accompanied by workshops with participants from the three case study cities, in which impact strategies are discussed and mutual learning processes are initiated.

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