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Global Businesses ‘from Below’: Ethnic Entrepreneurs in Metropolitan Areas

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Author(s): Pau Serra

Journal: Urbani Izziv
ISSN 0353-6483

Volume: 23;
Issue: supplement 2;
Start page: s97;
Date: 2012;
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Keywords: ethnic business districts | immigrant entrepreneurs | factors of concentration and dispersion

ABSTRACT
The urban migration in the North American cities and many European cities displays a great diversity of urban ethnic landscapes. These territories do not just show to the concentration of resident foreign-born population in certain areas inside the cities or in the suburbs but also the relevance of the economic activities developed by the immigrants. The role of migrant entrepreneurs has been critical in the revitalization of certain derelict urban cores and peripheries which have been transformed sometimes into vibrant ethnic business spaces. Some of these spaces show the importance of concentration of ethnic businesses and coethnic residents; some others present different geographic patterns, such as concentration or dispersion of ethnic businesses among a non-coethnic population; other times it is the concentration of specialized businesses. The combination of the different factors: concentration vs dispersion, diversity vs specialization and the majority vs minority relationship between ethnic businesses and the residents (monoethnicity vs multiethnicity) creates a set of different types of ethnic business spaces. The paper will explain theses types of ethnic business spaces with examples, such as Petite Asie in Paris, or multiethnic Ravalistan in Barcelona’s old town, and the geographical factors that are shaping them. The methodology is based upon a review of contemporary literature and other research findings on ethnic landscapes mainly in metropolitan North America but also in European cities.
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