Thursday, April 13, 2006

Talkwise The "Spill Over Effect"

Immigration, unfettered and unregulated is not something any American wants but the benefits immigrants have played in revitalizing neglected areas of our urban landscape cannot be discounted. Neighborhoods that would otherwise be desolate, without entrepreneurial activity and life are now thriving ethnic enclaves where newly arrived immigrants can find a hospitable environment where a social and economic network supports their transition.
As many of our previous immigrant waves, our modern newcomers used these enclaves as a springboard to move out into the outer concentric urban rings. This is commonly called the “spill over” effect. As newcomers continue to flood the ethnic center, those already there will move out the ethnic enclave and seek new communities to settle in. Imagine a series of bowls being placed within each other. As you pour water in the center one, it fills up and the water flows over into the next one. This process is repeated. One can go today to Watts and Compton and find communities that were once predominantly black, and now have populations which are majority Hispanic. This is happening in every urban center whose structure follows the urban concentric growth pattern.
In Los Angeles, one can see this process in its truest form. The positive and negative byproducts of this urban migration impacts crime, politics, and demographics. Without understanding the spill-over effect, one cannot understand the dynamics of our urban centers.


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