Why We Need Migrants In Our Cities and why migrants are good for us?
Migrants are something that we do not look forward to in our cities and even if we call ourselves broad-minded global citizens, the thought of a migrant is not a good one. A picture of migrants in a city is not something that we can call beautiful and welcoming.
Its human nature or shall we say animal instincts to be fearful, since that helped keep our ancestors alive, so we are very vulnerable to being frightened and even intimidated by threats, both real ones and perceived. We do not like to share what we perceive to be ours and even feel threatened if a new or unknown living being come into our sphere of influence. Imagine that you are traveling in an airplane and you find that the flight is only half full and your next seat is empty, you feel a bit more relaxed and start enjoying the flight. Now, mid-flight, a stranger comes and occupies that empty seat next to yours, you suddenly feel uncomfortable, even though he or she is not influencing your space. Imagine now that this stranger is someone who is dressed differently and speaks a very different tongue or is from a different and unknown culture, won’t’ your discomfort increase and would you not consider shifting your seat??
Migrants are just that, an unknown person who travels to our city for a better life and better opportunities. Most of the time, the migrant workforce works hard trying to secure their place in the society. Most of us are children of migrant’s, In fact, my father was born in a small village and moved to a city for education and work, I too was born in a different city and now have made a home in another one. History even tells us that we all migrated from Africa and set up homes in different places on this Earth and became different societies & races, no wonder we are all so much alike. We are branches of the same tree.
Have you ever wondered why there are so many different types and kinds of species on this planet? If we follow Darwin’s theory of evolution, then only the most successful and evolved species should be left alive, yet we find so much of diversity. The reason is very simple, the more diverse we are, the more chances of us surviving and transferring our genes to the next generation. Imagine if we all lived in a closed society and did not permit any new member to either leave or join us and if this closed society encountered a deadly virus as a disease, the chances are the entire society will be wiped out. In an experiment on bacterial culture wherein, a pathogen was introduced, the bacterial culture which had more diverse types of bacteria were able to survive by adapting to the threat. In fact, the reason why we are so diverse although we are one species is due to the ability to adapt to the changes and survive.
So in short, migration is good for our overall survival, mixing of different races and cultures brings about a healthy atmosphere for a better living. Now, how does it really impact our economy? Do migrants really take away our jobs and spoil the environment?
A UK study on the impact of immigration on economy states that there has been an overall positive impact due to migration. Immigrants increase the labor force, increases aggregate demands thereby increasing the GDP, most of the migrants are young hence reduces the dependency ratio, higher densities reduces environmental impacts, improves tax collection and strengthens the overall system.
Apart from migration between countries, there are migrants within the country, from villages to towns or towns to cities. Most of the time we complain that the cities are becoming more congested and blame it on the migrant, but the fact of the matter is that we are not doing anything about solving the problem. Should we simply deny a person a shot at living a better life simply because we feel threatened by the change?
There are various ways a city can be developed positively by welcoming migrant workforce. Migrants are good, they bring in youth, hard work, improves the economy, brings richness to diversity and creates a much better and more tolerant society. The problem is to solve the issue related to the design of cities that permit this positive impact.
Today we have something called as a startup hub or startup incubator, something similar can be planned for new migrants into our city, giving them the right opportunity to grow and help them to help us. A migrant incubator or a migrant hub which provides the new comers a welcoming and healthy environment will go a long way towards creating an equal and more stable society.