Category Archives: City Builder Book Club Series

City Builder Book Club (Arrival City): Chapter 10 Sketch (end)


Chapter 10: Arriving in Style 


The crucial paradox of the arrival city is that its occupants all want to stop living in an arrival city – either by making money and moving their families and village networks out or by turning the neighbourhood itself into something better….But most, if they succeed, tend to produce their own obsolescence.  The arrival city is now the favoured new residential neighbourhood in many North American and European cities with districts like Rampart in Los Angeles, the Lower East Side in Manhattan, Spitalfields in London, Belleville in Paris and Ossington in Toronto becoming desirable for young graduates…seeking homes precisely because the presence of dynamic, city transforming arrival-city communities. 

At the end of Arrival City, my reflections include- 

  • Cities are indeed ever-changing complex beasts
  • Enjoyed the use of personal and character stories as a narrative intro to topics
  • While some scenarios in developing countries still feel detached to me, I certainly could see the connections and similar sentiments in the refugee stories of my own family upbringing and other migrant groups.  The issues feel real to the arrival suburbs of Brisbane  
  • While I found it slightly harder to draw than the first bookclub book, it was still useful exercise to keep me reading and on time.  

City Builder Book Club (Arrival City): Chapter 9 Sketch


Chapter 9: Arrival’s End: Mud Floor to Middle Class


The citizens of Jardim Angela were unanimous in their description of the neighbourhood’s needs : first security, then education, then a proper link to the larger city, physical and economically

“The school become the first really neutral territory, the first public space……we made it part of the community. Then we started evening classes for adults and older teenagers with a seventh and eight-grade education who wanted a new start” These were so successful that the school had to open all 15 classrooms at night

City Builder Book Club (Arrival City): Chapter 8 sketch


Chapter 8: The New City Confronts the Old World


“We come from a small village in the middle of nowhere, and it’s like we can’t get out of the village here – my whole family, 10 of us is living in two rooms, and my mother and father can’t make a living like they did in the village, and I can’t make a living like a French man should” he says

“That’s our problem – we’re not African and we’re not European”.  The burning of cars, symbols of mobility and success, has become a poignant gesture for guys like Mafoud     

(*the bookclub was been postponed to Jan 2015, but will complete the series)  

City Builder Book Club (Arrival City) – Chapter 7 sketch


Chapter 7: When the Margins Explode


“This was like its Iranian cousin, an explosion from the urban centre that simply used the arrival city as fuel. There is another war arrival cities can explode; by developing their own potent political movements and sending them inward to seize the political centre of the larger city, and possible the nation. The arrival city take-over of the city and the nation is a new phenomenon, but is likely to becoming the defining political event of the century, as neglected ex-migrant communities, which in many countries will soon represent a majority of the population, demand their own representation.”

City Builder Book Club (Arrival City): Chapter 6 sketch


Chapter 6: The Death and Life if A Great Arrival City 


“Ozal introduced Law 2805, an amnesty law for gecekondu squatters.  This one was different from the amnesty of the 1960s and 70s though.  Rather than just turning the squatters into accepted taxpayers, it granted formal ownership of their makeshift houses and title deeds to the land under them.  Millions of precarious and uneasy “overnight arrivals”, who had been at war with the city were transformed almost literally overnight into property owners with a stake in the economy

….He had created the beginnings of a new middle class in the outskirts, though he probably didn’t realise the full political repercussions of this….

City Builder Book Club (Arrival City): Chapter 5 sketch


Chapter 5: The First Great Migration: How the West Arrived


…the past two decades has seen a revolution in the techniques of analysing social mobility – both intergenerational mobility (did you end up better of worst than your parents?) and intragenerational mobility (did you better or worse off than you were born?)

..the years of increased social mobility, in fact, also happen to be the years during which public education, child-labour laws, hygiene and housing reforms and rudimentary social welfare were introduced, and numerous studies have found that the two trends tracked one another

…The year 1848 marks a significant fulcrum point…it was in 1848 that the first English Public Health Act was enacted, that child labour was banned and that the first real public housing development was proposed.  None of these reforms would really be comprehensively or properly funded for decades but they began having a gradual and noticeable effect on social mobility

…if you wanted guaranteed social mobility, you had to cross the Atlantic