Migration and Urban Development

The number of migrants is growing progressively.

In 2005, 191 million migrants comprised 3% of the global population. Together, they would constitute the 5th most populous country. What is the impact of migration on the global as well as the local urban development, economy and culture at large?

This ongoing research program is taking a look at historic as well as present-day or future predicted migration phenomena worldwide with an in-depth analysis of the situation in the Americas.

Economically motivated or disaster related migration is analyzed in regards to the socio-cultural and economic impacts for countries of origin and destination. Mainly focused on the labor contribution of the immigrants, the remittances they send home, and the separation of family members.

Moreover, migration has an effect on the development of the receiving ("growing") and sending ("shrinking") cities. The investigation examines important topics such as informal economy, use of public space, waste disposal, pollution, transport, security, urban recreation and the development of city centers in relationship to suburban sprawl and residual in-between areas that are typically inhabited by the urban poor.

We also examine the so-called "Blue Migration" - a terminology defined by Spanish architect Inaki Abalos - that refers to people moving towards the global coastal paradises that are framed by the blue sea and sky. This economic potential can generate a great risk for the natural habitat along the global coastline. In its 2008 report entitled "Destruction at all Co(a)sts", Greenpeace points out that the "coastline management should answer to the public interest. However, in the past decade we have witnessed an inexorable deterioration of our coasts exemplified by the poor use of land through ill-fated urban planning policies accompanied by resource planning and development schemes that have shown little concern for safeguarding ecological values and natural resources." This part of our research is looking at the threats and potentials of tourism worldwide with a close up look at the situation in Latin America; the special impact on the coastal or other tourism-related development in Central America is examined in separate investigations such as Recombinant Tourism or the I GUANA project.

In 2006, some of the research outcomes were presented in an exhibition at the National Museum of Costa Rica as well as in various selected public locations of the city of San Jose. Lectures and open discussions as well as films, radio programs, multicultural theater plays, readings and concerts completed the event schedule.


A Foundation (Oliver Schütte and Marije van Lidth de Jeude) with project specific support

Location: Worldwide

Status: Ongoing

Year: 2004–present