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Arrival City: The Final Migration and Our Next World

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  677 ratings  ·  77 reviews
From one of Canada's leading journalists comes a major book about how the movement of populations from rural to urban areas on the margins is reshaping our world. These transitional spaces are where the next great economic and cultural boom will be born, or where the great explosion of violence will occur. The difference depends on our ability to notice.

The twenty-first ce
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published September 21st 2010 by Knopf Canada (first published January 1st 2010)
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Average rating 4.09  · 
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Sep 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: world, 5-star-books
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a compellingly argued, highly entertaining book - part travelogue, part sociological study - which offers an optimistic new perspective on the 'slums' surrounding many urban centers around the world today.

Such slums are the products of the great rural-to-urban migration which has occurred across much of the world over the past few decades. The massive shantytowns surrounding places like Karachi, Mumbai and Lagos - and urban slums in Europe - have often been viewed by outsiders as place o
Why Slums are a Good Thing

To understand what could be positive about something that appears to be so ugly, Doug Saunders seeks to first break the spell that country life has over some of us in the affluent West. He is talking instead about subsistence farming in developing countries:

“There is no romance in village life. Rural living is the largest single killer of humans today, the greatest source of malnutrition, infant mortality and reduced lifespans. The rural village is also the predominant
Eric B. Kennedy
Oct 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Really exceptional non-fiction that will change your way of seeing the world while simultaneously lining up with/building upon other excellent work.

In Arrival City, Doug Saunders explores those places that have often been labeled as ghettos, slums, or otherwise undesirable neighbourhoods. Focusing on communities that cater to new arrivals (whether from rural areas to urban or from developing countries to more developed), Saunders is really trying to explore two questions: (1) what can we do to e
Mar 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: eco
The title refers to a concept, the "arrival city." It's a sort of long holding station that allows for a transition from rural to urban living. When it works right, a family can move from village poverty to an urban middle class over the course of a generation. When Saunders talks to these villagers in the arrival city, even when they live in a sort of hole behind a curtain in the back of a shop and send money to the village to support their children or parents, they still say this arrival city ...more
Ram Kaushik
Jan 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm glad to started my 2019 reading with this engrossing and informative work. Especially since we appear to be entering a new age of xenophobia and general suspicion of immigration and immigrants, this book was topical indeed. Doug Saunders has delved deeply into 20+ migrant hotspots all over the world from Bangla Desh and Bogota to Mumbai and Shenzen. His analysis uncovers that far from being hellhole ghettos that suck investment, create terrorists and spark urban riots, these "arrival cities" ...more
Oct 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017
'Arrival City' (2012). So yeah, the rural-urban migration which is in full swing and will mean like 2-3 fucking billion people packing up and leave over the next 30 years or so is MASSIVE. Forget international migration, the actual largest ever scale human movement takes place within countries: from the shitty villages to the cities. This insane movement is also expected to put an end to population growth by around 2050, once we're like 9 billion urbanites with less than 2.1 children. If you're ...more
Really stimulating! Saunders explores the concept of the 'arrival city,' an urban space transformed by rural-to-urban migration. He argues that rural-to-urban migration is going to be a hallmark of the coming century, and he seeks to identify the characteristics of successful arrival cities, which assist arrivals in propelling themselves upward, versus failed arrival cities, in which arrivals may stall, fall backwards, or turn to violence and instability. He surveys a variety of examples of arri ...more
Shonna Froebel
Nov 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: canadian, economics
Doug Saunders is the European Bureau Chief for the Globe and Mail. He has put together this book to show how the move from rural to urban living is in its last phase. The ways in which we treat those areas, arrival cities, that immigrants first come to greatly affects how the cities themselves prosper. He uses examples from all over the world, primarily Europe, North and South America, China, India, and Bangladesh to show how this phenomenon is common to all cultures. He also uses history to sho ...more
Saunders makes interesting points, but he undercuts his own arguments again and again by mixing data and anecdote, scientific studies and his own sense of what's "probably true." As a series of interviews with new rural arrivals, this offers valuable perspective, but a rigorous policy map it is not.
Feb 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In the current climate of many political parties with anti-immigration stances, it really is interesting to see what the actual facts are surrounding immigration, or in this case, rural-to-urban migration. This book reviews, quite accessibly, governmental policies, cultural factors, and sociological research to paint a picture of the arrival city. He describes it as the place on the outskirts of the main city, that is often referred to as a slum, which is the connection between village and city ...more
Apr 17, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Arrival City" discusses the implications of mass migration from rural to urban areas and how it is affecting, for better or worse, cities around the world. The focus of the book is on the “arrival city”, which is not necessarily the urban area that absorbs the migrants. Instead, it is typically the surrounding areas where the migrants first begin to enter urban society – in the suburbs, the slums, or the outskirts of town. The arrival city serves basic functions and needs of the residents, but ...more
Evelyn Swift (Featherbrained Books)
The twenty-first century is entering an epoch that is reshaping our cities and economies by the appearance of Arrival Cities, a term coined by Saunders, which explains the final migration from the rural village to urban areas. This isn’t a localized event focused on the developing world, it is a global phenomenon that is effecting everyone worldwide. These arrival cities establish new lives, where immigrants integrate themselves into a new world socially and economically, to set up life for them ...more
Leon Erkelens
Apr 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Please don't make the south of Rotterdam like middle class settlements. Let it be poor, because that is where new people arriving in the city get a chance to start their better life. Places like that are needed.
Aug 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Jimmy
Shelves: non-fiction, history
Arrival City is an interesting thought provoking book about flexible urban planning for the poorest inhabitants of today's mega-cities. Really, it is very interesting and remarkably hopeful.

The world has seen a huge migration from rural to urban, creating what many think of as squatter slums. Doug Saunders brings these areas alive through stories about the lives of specific inhabitants. Saunders describes the arc of a number of arrival cities in Africa, the Middle East, South America, Asia, Euro
Brenda B
Jan 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: economics, politics
A great accompaniment to contemporary news. I read Doug Saunders fairly faithfully, and his topics and writing always impress me.

A quote from the book that resonate with me: "...poverty is, fundamentally, not the dearth of money or a lack of possessions or a shortage of talent or ambition but the absence of capacities - the lack of tools or opportunities needed to function as a full citizen." (Idea attributed to Amartya Sen)

After examining arrival cities in China, Brazil, Egypt, Turkey, India, C
In May, I read “Arrival City: How the Largest Migration in History is Shaping Our World” by Doug Saunders. The book discusses the implications of mass migration from rural to urban areas and how it is affecting, for better or worse, big cities around the world. The focus of the book is on the “arrival city”, which is not necessarily the urban area that absorbs the migrants. Instead, it is typically the surrounding areas where the migrants first begin to enter urban society – in the suburbs, the ...more
Humza Hussain
Aug 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book tells the story of social movements across the globe by using individuals in each region and following their rural-to-urban migration. In doing this, the author is able to make a very strong case as to why certain cities fail to incorporate migrants into their economic and cultural fabrics, meanwhile others are able to achieve this quite easily. What was most interesting about this book is just how convincingly it shows how the integration of migrants explains such phenomenons and radi ...more
Choudhry Shuaib
Apr 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Fabulous book which really explores the makeup of immigrant enclaves in cities, their economies, politics, networks and why they're so useful in helping rural migrants to make the transition to fully fledged urbanite. He calls these migrant enclaves, arrival cities, which I love and he also really manages to distil the mind-sets of the immigrant, the newly forming urbanite and the offspring of the immigrants very well. His perspective on slums is superb as he reveals the complex economies and in ...more
Feb 07, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: modern-society
Doug Saunders’s Arrival City – How the largest migration in history is reshaping our world was listed by a few people as one of the more interesting books published in 2010 and it is easy to see why. Challenging conventional wisdom every inch of the way, Saunders has a good news story to tell about migration, and he is on a mission to make sure that everyone understands its ramifications every inch of the way.

The elements in his tale are that the things so often seen as repellent, dysfunctional,
Hans-Peter Merz
Oct 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellently written. Most important topic. We are wittnessing the last great migration of people in history - billions of humans are moving from rural to urban settling, changing size and structure of traditionel cities as well as political structures of whole nations. No one should dream about keeping all those people at their places of birth-they will move and they will go to where they hope to have a future at least for their children. Western politics would be well advised to prepare in a co ...more
Oct 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sarah Logan
Aug 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Such an excellent book. Arrival cities really are so key to moving people out of poverty and transforming lives and nations, but if their development is badly managed, they become the seeds of the religious extremism we see in many European countries today. Really insightful case studies throughout the book that explain the social issues we see in different cities. Fascinating.
Dec 17, 2017 rated it liked it
I really enjoyed this exploration of arrival cities. The work encouraged me to reflect on cities I have visited around the world as well as Canadian immigration policies. I didn't like the narratives as much as his analysis of arrival cities.
Jane Conrad
May 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent and entertaining book on urban migration, I learned a lot and it peaked my interest in the subject.
May 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Interesting new ways to look at and to understand the problems of immigration and ethnically segregated suburbs. Worth reading!
Aug 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Detailed review of migration and urbanization - broken down to beyond the simplistic view of slums
Jul 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Interesting premise, but does not really deliver.
Menno Block
Oct 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Very rich, well-researched. One of the reasons I decided to leave Europe to live in a developing country capital.
Mar 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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Doug Saunders (b. 1967) is a Canadian-British author and journalist.

He is the author of the books Arrival City: The Final Migration and Our Next World (2011) and The Myth of the Muslim Tide (2012) and is the international-affairs columnist for The Globe and Mail.

He served as the paper’s London-based European bureau chief for a decade, after having run the paper’s Los Angeles bureau, and has writ

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“Let us remember: One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world.” That’s Malala Yousafzai, Pakistani human rights...
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“Cultural purity is an oxymoron (Saunders just quoted this).” 2 likes
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