Few studies have systematically examined the role of municipal planning in creating immigrant-friendly cities despite the importance of immigration to the growth and development of cities. In this research project I asked to what extent and how planners are involved in immigrant welcoming initiatives. The interviews draw from two perspectives—planning and immigrant affairs—through content analysis of 42 interviews in 30 “welcoming” cities, 28 comprehensive plans, and 17 immigrant integration plans. The analysis revealed that planners are not very engaged with welcoming initiatives or immigrant affairs staff. Planners tinker with land use regulations to accommodate immigrants in specific contexts and are looking for ways to do better outreach. Overall, planning continues as “business as usual” in cities calling themselves welcoming to immigrants. Surprisingly, immigrant affairs staff and planners know little about each other.
Interested in learning more about how to create immigrant-friendly cities? Read the full report by Dr. Harwood here.