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Email or Customer ID. Forgot password? All residents will benefit from job creation and expansion. Our diverse economy has insulated us from the worst of the recession, but we need to plan for the future. This is one way the city has used diversity and multiculturalism as a tool to promote urban revitalization, creating an environment that not only allows for but also thrives because of its diverse population.

Its efforts to become a culturally vibrant, livable city have not gone unnoticed by the media. Geography can be everything or nothing, and much in between. Economic relationships between the West Indies and Portland, for example began in the early colonial period and turned the city into a key international port Sanders and Helfgot Early on, Portland businesspeople saw the potential for trade, particularly in rum and molasses with the West Indies. By , as a result of these close relationships, Portland imported three times more sugar and molasses than Boston.

These tight trade connections with the West Indies promoted immigration from Cuba and other areas in Latin America. In particular, the rise in tourism in the last fifty years means that Portland constantly hosts newcomers — as many as 6, visitors disembark from cruise ships on any given summer afternoon. International grocery stories and restaurants, from Eritrean to Salvadoran, are situated throughout the city and patronized not only by immigrants but also by a diverse group of native-born Mainers who attend citywide cultural events and programs throughout the year.

Interviewees told stories about the richness that immigrant and refugees have brought to Portland. Because it was strategically located on the way to New York for colonial settlers making the arduous two-week trek from Boston, Danbury enjoyed a brisk trade in agricultural goods and hospitality services. When the first rail line opened in , it provided easy access to the raw materials and coal power that drove the explosive growth of the hat making industry. Instead, it created an attractive destination for immigrants — from the Irish fleeing the Potato Famine in the s, followed by Germans and Italians.

And in the s, when the city experienced a small slump, the German community revitalized Main Street, opening various businesses — tailor shops, bakeries, taverns, and of course, wonderful breweries Devlin As the twentieth century dawned upon Danbury, the majority of its residents came from other countries. Although the city of Danbury was incorporated in , and a century later, saw a major interstate highway run through it, to this day it retains a small-town atmosphere.

But today, Main Street is no longer the typical New England thoroughfare. Today, most of the downtown storefronts have signs in Portuguese or Spanish and businesses catering to immigrants, including restaurants, travel agencies, money transfer outlets and international groceries abound. They express ambivalence, if not outright disdain, for their newly rejuvenated commercial district, claiming it offers them little.

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While the outskirts of Danbury are thriving, revitalization, as they would like to see it, has skipped its downtown. A life-long resident and President of the U. At the same time, post immigrants proudly claim Main Street and many respondents in our sample, foreign- and native-born alike, emphasized how devastated Main Street was until immigrants moved to town. In Portland, a long period of stagnation, suburbanization, city center disinvestment and job loss characterized the first half of the s. Revitalization began in the early s, when grassroots activists and business owners interested in historic preservation, affordable housing and improving the built environment, along with business owners looking to infuse the city with new life, joined forces.

As more housing and historic buildings were restored, Portland attracted more people, especially members of the artistic and gay communities. Larger businesses also played a key role during these early years by relocating to the downtown area. The city actively promoted these efforts, making streetscape, sidewalk, lighting and other improvements to public spaces. These venues border a still active port, which hosts a mix of cargo ships, ferries, as well as large tourist cruise liners and sightseeing boats.

While Portland is a work in progress, grappling with issues such as housing, homelessness, and economic sustainability, it has become not only a tourist destination for international and out-of-state visitors but also a destination for people throughout the state who see Portland as a vibrant, cosmopolitan, culturally diverse hub. Its location as a port city makes it more open and welcoming towards immigrants as does its attempt to tell its story as a multi-ethnic, multicultural center in Maine.

Its primary selling point today is as a good place to live and conduct business. However, this trend shifted into reverse as the debates about illegal immigration escalated, especially since Danbury still wants diversity but only a certain kind and at a certain level. A small but very vocal group of residents see legal immigrants as an asset but undocumented workers as the problem and it is often difficult to distinguish between the two.

The staff at the organizations in Portland we spoke with said that their immigrants clients expressed less fear and insecurity than in other cities, especially after September 11 th , although there was some mention of anti-Islamic sentiment. For the most part, immigrants were seen as success stories.

They did not see immigrants as inherently flawed or problematic, but rather as needing guidance and education. For instance, when immigrants were unfamiliar with what could or could not be flushed down the toilet or where small children could safely play on their own in Portland, service agencies developed programs to teach them these skills. Danbury also fought to maintain this pluralism peacefully.


From , the city had doubled in size from 30, to 60, people , with people coming to work in the new high-tech and pharmaceutical industries that replaced the hat making business that had dominated the region for nearly two centuries. In the early s, a survey revealed that 30 percent of residents had lived in the city for less than five years Devlin , p.

According to the U. Many non-immigrant, primarily white respondents called the city welcoming and supportive of immigrants. But nearly as many foreign-born respondents, especially people who had been living in the country for decades, said they felt anything but welcome. Portland has made an ongoing effort to increase and improve the services it offers immigrants. These staffs have proactively applied for funding to maintain and expand their services. Over the past two decades, the number of nonprofits and other groups serving the immigrant and refugee communities has increased.

Various organizations now offer ESL, translators, interpreters, and special events where people can learn about the many services offered in Portland. On the ground, the reality is quite different. While Portland harnessed its increasing diversity to revitalize its downtown and to reinsert itself more advantageously in the global economy, Danbury has had a much more difficult time, particularly given rising anti-immigrant sentiments, to put its words into practice. Throughout its history, and because of its geography, Portland has always interacted with newcomers.

The city received state and national funding not only to settle refugees but to use its increasing diversity as a springboard toward redeveloping its port into a major tourist destination. While the office parks that surround the city maybe thriving, its downtown business district has become an ethnic business hub. While some see this as progress, others yearn for the downtown of yesteryear, with its English-language signs and familiar products. Rescaling in Danbury has not used immigrants as an asset nor does it particularly benefit them.

By that we mean that it is not connected regularly or organically to infusions of outsiders, be they foreign or local tourists. It is also skewed, in that there are one or two focal groups that are spatially clustered i. Brazilians and illegals. If anything, in Danbury, we see a political rescaling. While it is demography that ultimately explains much of what we discovered, it is cultural factors that influence what those numbers mean and how they are ultimately become part of the urban fabric.

July 30, Boulder, CO, Westview Press, Berkeley, University of California Press, Cheong , P. Edwards , H. Devlin , William, We crown them all, An illustrated history of Danbury. Durkheim , Emile, The elementary forms of the religious life, a study in religious sociology.

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London and New York, G. London, Routledge, Lansing, Michigan, Michigan State University, Fix , M. Washington, DC, Urban Institute, Gilchrist , Jim, and Jerome R. A substantive review of transnational migration studies by way of a reply to Waldinger and Fitzgerald. Godzniak , Elzbieta, and Susan F. Martin Eds. Landham, MD, Lexington Books, Gouveia, Lourdes, and D. Grey , Mark A. New York, Russell Sage Foundation, Hardwick , Susan W.

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Levitt, Peggy, and B. Wallace and A. Le Mund. Lexington, MA, Lexington Books, Millard, Ann V. Austin, University of Texas Press, a. Mohl, R. Forces , Portes, A. Reitz, Jeffrey G. Warmth of the welcome, The social causes of economic success for immigrants in different nations and cities.

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