Plenary 3: session A and B

Thursday, June 28, 09.00-10.30, Campus Ekonomikum
Parallel session A, Lecture Hall 3

Too dense for democracy? Urban growth, loss of public space, and possibilities for civil exchange

Some see the open public spaces of cities as bastions of democracy. According to this argument, parks, squares and streets are crucial settings for participation, deliberation and inclusion. In public spaces, people with different backgrounds, experiences and interests share a common living environment, and may reflect on, come to terms with, and appreciate both their differences and their common humanity. However, the ability of cities to support such democratic process is according to many observers under increasing pressure. Contemporary phenomena such as urban densification, spatial segregation, privatization and securitization risk de facto closing public spaces. But what is more precisely the social and democratic value of public space, and through what mechanisms do these tendencies threaten it? What can those involved with urban planning, policy and governance do for supporting public exchange in the service of democratic processes? The two speakers in this session offer complementary views of the possibilities. John Parkinson will in his presentation warn against an over-reliance on the simple provision of public space, which might be viewed as a ‘necessary but not sufficient’ condition for democratic performances, and he will encourage instead interventions aimed at creating ‘communities of democratic practice’. In his presentation, Don Mitchell will consider the paradoxical character of police-led community cohesion in UK cities, ostensibly a means to contend with unfriendly exchanges between different groups in public spaces, but arguably an intervention with implications for housing regeneration in rapidly changing cities, one that reinforces segregation.

Moderator: Nils Hertting, Associate Professor of Political Science and Prefect, Institute for Housing and Urban Research, Uppsala University

More together, more apart? On the opportunities for building communities of democratic practice

John Parkinson, Professor of Politics, Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance, University of Canberra.

Abstract:: One of the most striking features of many national policy debates about urban planning and design is a tendency to channel the 1989 film Field of Dreams: “If you build it, they will come.” That is, if we build spaces that are thought to encourage inclusion and connection, then an inclusive range of citizens will come, and connect. This tendency is being reinforced by current fashions in public policy, driven by behavioural economics and psychology, which see behaviour in rather crude terms, often as responses to cues laid out in the built environment.

And yet, such a view ignores much of what urban scholars already know about place­ making; what cultural theorists know about how meanings are created; and what critical policy scholars know about the failures of similar modernist projects in the past.

In this presentation I will suggest a way of thinking about the problem of living together yet apart that uses a novel, cultural theory of democracy. I argue that our goal ought not to be to build inclusive spaces so much as ‘communities of democratic practice’; and that building the spaces might be a ‘necessary but not sufficient’ condition – in other words, that it does not automatically lead to the practices. I suggest a range of short and long-term interventions to bring space and practice closer together.

More together, definitely more apart: Policing public space in two British cities

Don Mitchell, Professor of Cultural Geography, Department of Social and Economic Geography, Uppsala University; Distinguished Professor of Geography Emeritus at Syracuse University

Abstract: For the past two decades, the British economy has been founded – at least in large part – in a political economy of urban (especially housing) regeneration, including (in many instances) efforts at densification.  At the same time significant (pre-Brexit) immigration, especially from poorer EU states has transformed the social geography of cities, threatening, in the view of many, the social cohesion of their neighborhoods.  Tensions endemic in these trends – of class, ethnicity, race, language, custom, and more – frequently get worked out in public space, sometimes in the form of low-level hostility between groups, sometimes violently.  As a result, during the first decade and a half of the 2000s, the British government, first New Labor then the Conservative-led Coalition, doubled down on ideologies and practices of community policing in an effort to reinforce what colleagues and I have identified as police-led community cohesion.  This is a new phenomenon, but one also echoed in numerous places around the world facing inter-communal struggle.  Drawing on research done with Lynn Staeheli and Kafui Attoh, I will examine what police-led community cohesion is, how this transforms both access to and the nature of public space (and therefore the forms of life and culture it may support) and what this means especially for housing regeneration in rapidly changing cities.  Our argument is that police-led community cohesion is a means of reinforcing segregation, at both micro and meso scales, in the name of multicultural togetherness.

Thursday, June 28, 09.00-10.30, Campus Ekonomikum
Parallel session B, Lecture Hall 4

Implications of national immigration policies for international migration flows

During the last decade, there has been an active, and often heated, debate within the European Union on the relationship between international migration and country-specific refugee- and immigration policies. In this plenary session, we will discuss the importance of this relationship. Marianne Røed will present cross-country evidence on the effects of national policies on international migration flows, Henrik Andersson will talk about the effects of national asylum rules in attracting asylum seekers, and Cristina Bratu will talk about the effects of tougher reunification rules for international migration flows. Understanding determinants of migration flows is important from a policy perspective, not the least policies related to the housing market and possibilities for providing emergency housing to newly arrived asylum seekers.

Moderator: Matz Dahlberg, Professor of Economics, Institute for Housing and Urban Research, Uppsala University

The effect of policy on interconnected asylum flows

Marianne Røed, Senior Researcher, Department of Work and Welfare, Institute for Social Research, Oslo, Norway

Abstract: A tougher asylum policy in one receiving country may reduce the asylum flow out of the origin countries. However a more restrictive policy may also clearly deflect asylum seekers to other destinations.   The awareness of this last possibility has been a main cause of tension between the European countries when it comes to the design of asylum policy, both at a national level and at the common European level.  I will present results from empirical investigations of how asylum policy reforms affect asylum flows. Specifically, I will consider the consequences of policy amendments completed from 1985 to 2015 (2010) in the following nine European receiving countries:  Austria, Belgium, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and the United Kingdom.  Asylum policy is represented both by  measures of change in the aggregated level of restrictiveness and changes in quite specific rules related to family reunion and the conclusions of readmission agreements between the governments in origin- and destination countries.  The policy changes are examined with regard to the direct effect on the number of asylum applications submitted in the countries that conducted the reforms, and with regard to their deflection effect, that is, their impacts on the inflows to the other receiving countries. Finally, the policy changes are examined with regard to the impact on the total outflows of asylum seekers from the origin countries to all receiving countries in OECD.   With regard to all these three categories of effects, I will present significant results which are in accordance with our prior expectations. 

Do asylum seekers respond to policy changes? Evidence from a Swedish-Syrian case

Henrik Andersson, Institute for Housing and Urban Research, Uppsala University

Abstract: Given the last year’s heated European debate on asylum policy regimes, it is crucial to understand how effective certain asylum policies actually are. The current state of the academic literature is roughly divided into to two strands; one qualitative, which asks refugees about their pre-application knowledge on the recipient countries’ rules and institutions; and one quantitative, combining cross-country longitudinal data to study effects of yearly asylum policy changes on inter-country flows of asylum seekers. There is, however, a lack of quasi-experimental evidence, which can provide a causal interpretation. Motivated by this, I and Kristoffer Jutvik looked specifically at a sudden, regulatory change in the Swedish reception of Syrian asylum seekers. The change took place in September 2013, and implied that all Syrian asylum seekers would be granted permanent, instead of temporary residence permits. Using high frequency data and an interrupted time series set-up, we studied the extent to which this change caused more Syrian citizens to apply for asylum in Sweden, and how the change affected the distribution of asylum seekers in Europe. Results show that the change in policy almost doubled the number of asylum seekers from Syria within 2013, with a significant jump in numbers already within the first week after the implementation of the policy. While this also decreased the share of asylum seekers to other large recipient countries (Germany), the effects were highly temporary. The paper hence both points to the importance of national policy, as well as the interdependence of European states in policy making.

Spillover effects of stricter immigration policies

Cristina Bratu, Department of Economics, Uppsala University

Abstract: We study the effects of stricter immigration policies on migration flows to neighboring countries. In particular, we analyze how stricter rules on family reunification, the outcome of a policy reform in 2002 in Denmark, affect reunification-related migration to Sweden, a neighboring country with less strict rules. We reach two main conclusions. First, using Danish register data, we find that the reform led to a clear and significant increase in emigration rates of affected individuals from Denmark, and in particular to Sweden. Swedish register data corroborate our findings allowing us to identify reunified couples that have moved to Sweden.  Second, in terms of onward migration, our results show that a significant fraction of those affected by the Danish reform seem to have considered the move to Sweden as temporary: within two (eight) years approximately 20% (50%) had left Sweden, with the absolute majority returning to Denmark. Further evidence that the move to Sweden was seen as temporary is given by the fact that a large share of those affected keep receiving labor income from Denmark during their stay in Sweden.