“Importance of the hidden” is a research paper that investigates the importance of arrival infrastructures in ‘arrival areas’ that emerged due to the complexity of social and cultural multilayering that play a crucial part in newcomers’ adaptation process. Newham, an East London borough with the highest concentration of incoming migrants across the city, had been chosen as a critical study for an in-depth investigation.
Immigration as a process is a very challenging and stressful period in one’s life and not everyone migrating can make it through and get a hold of a new life. The presence of chance encounters, arrival brokers, and people of help provides that emotional and mental support and care that is much needed, especially when your loved ones are thousands of miles away.
Amongst various research methods carried out in the process, the project looks deeply into the interviews conducted as part of the ongoing research by the Arrival Infrastructures and Migrant Newcomers in European Cities (AIMEC) project.
The real-life experiences and struggles of the newcomers laid out the foundation for this project and the development of the architectural illustrations. The drawings showcase real-life buildings located in Newham: Stratford Library and a local shop located by the East Ham station; they are both perceived as arrival infrastructures where ‘fluid’ connections are born.
The potential of these informal infrastructures lies in providing more information about public services through libraries, schools, shops, language centres or places of religion and identifying the main arrival trajectories of newcomers, thus making the distribution of information more effective.
Despite the presence of transnational networks and support connections, as well as an abundance of digital information, the reality of migration and settlement is still tied to a physical place and shaped by the existence of people, buildings and urban spaces where new forms of cultural diversity can be formed and promoted.