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Doug Saunders: Arrival Cities

Doug Saunders, Canadian journalist and traveler, visited 25 slums on five continents and surprises with a radical, because positive, thesis. His book "Arrival City" broadens the view and gives a new name to the demonized quarters: "arrival cities". The slum as an opportunity: Is that not naive, even cynical?

In permeable societies arrival cities are the birth place of a new, creative middle class. Saunders argues that one can find "the best of the best" in arrival cities. As people from villages of foreign countries come to Western cities for specific economic opportunities, they are the most motivated and ambitious and only half of them manage to stay here.

Saunders thinks that schools are often a terrible problem as these quarters need the best schools, where the children of migrants have to compete with middle class children, but instead the opposite happens. The result: socially explosive, as seen in the suburbs of London and Paris and which has transformed some South American favelas in criminal no-go areas. And yet a new middle class from the arrival cities in Brazil has long taken over the urban centers, including political posts.


William Heinemann, 2010