This project is part of a larger project with the Building Resilient Regions network that focuses on understanding the challenges immigration has posed and will pose to U.S. metropolitan regions. The PERE team is taking the lead on two case studies, Los Angeles and San Jose. We will conduct 20 to 40 interviews within each region with a wide variety of stakeholders including leaders of immigrant advocacy organizations, local public agencies, key elected officials, members of the press and other key stakeholders. This project is funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
The BRR research network has defined a collaborative research agenda around a series of intersecting challenges facing America’s metropolitan regions. Among the most pressing of these is rapid demographic change, particularly the growth of the foreign born population in many large metropolitan areas. In the context of an aging native born workforce and the steady decline in the relative size of the non-Hispanic white population, the rise of immigrant populations means that many of America’s metropolitan areas will be majority-minority long before the U.S. itself crosses that threshold in about 2042.
The BRR Immigrant Challenge sub-project will examine the growth of the foreign descent population and the host of challenges their arrival poses to receiving areas. Some include:
• Where do immigrants and their children fit into changing metropolitan -economies?
• Where do immigrants and their children fit into the spatial matrix of metropolitan neighborhoods?
• What individual or collective forms of civic engagement, if any, are emerging from immigrant communities?
• How is the topic of "immigration" being politicized and framed on the public agenda?
This project is guided by the idea that resilient regions are those which can adapt to catalytic demographic transformations. While other research topics in the BRR portfolio involve such challenges as rapid economic decline, rapid economic growth, and changing patterns of regional inequality and exclusion, the aim of this research project is to examine the capacity of regions to deal with the dislocations evinced by rapid population change and to form new social compacts that can provide a framework for positive inter-group dynamics.
We thus believe that we can measure resilience by how regions adapt to the challenges of immigration, how much use they make of the assets of immigrants, whether they develop new places for integration and success, and when they succeed in building new social infrastructures to foster a shared regional identity.
Building Resilient Regions: The Immigrant Challenge
By John Mollenkopf and Manuel Pastor