Transnational neighborhoods and the metropolitan community
Metropolitan areas, long fragmented along lines of ethnicity and income, must now contend with the strong transnational connections that immigrants bring from both their countries of origin and far-flung diasporic communities. These connections – made stronger and more immediate by advances in telecommunications technology – mean that immigrants share a common fate with multiple communities. In the US context immigrants’ direct physical communities include their immediate household, neighborhood, city, metropolitan area, county, state, and nation – each of which is in constant contention with one another. In addition to these connections, immigrants are completely invested in political, emotional, and economic ties within their transnational immigrant networks. These connections often take the form of remittances to family members abroad and investments in community development projects at home in their country of origin. Therefore individual neighborhood regeneration projects must be conceptualized, designed, negotiated, defended and implemented within the complex local and transnational relationships within which immigrants are embedded. A central issue of neighborhood regeneration could therefore best be termed ‘the politics of belonging’: how does an increasingly diverse citizenry agree on the pace, form and ultimate goal of neighborhood regeneration?