Are there integration possibilities of all immigrants in the Greek society? In this seminar Dr Paschalis Arvanitidis will present a study that set forth to understand the complex spatial relations among refugees and asylum seekers, existing immigrant communities and the native population.
Over the last thirty years or so, Greece has seen a substantial influx of immigrants coming mainly from Albania and the republics of ex-USSR and to a lesser extent from northern Africa and Asia. The phenomenon has attracted the attention of scholars, giving rise to a number of studies discussing the economic, social and spatial implications in-migration has for the country. Yet, few studies have comprehensively explored the intra-urban location choices of immigrants and the possible emergence of specific ethnic enclaves within Greek cities. In addition to this, the country has since 2012 received an increasing number of refugees from the Middle East passing through Greece on their way to Northern and Western Europe. Tight border controls and other acts taken by the EU and the neighbouring countries have substantially restricted these movements, leaving a growing number of incomers "trapped" in Greece for an indefinite period. This situation has given rise to reasonable concerns to both Greek citizens and the State authorities alike, regarding the spatial allocation and settlement of incomers, the conditions of their living and the implication of these decisions on the social and spatial fabric of Greek cities. On this basis the study set forth to explore the location choices and segregation dynamics among refugees, existing immigrants and natives, having as case studies two typical cities, Larisa and Katerini. In doing so the study employed classic segregation measures (the Dissimilarity and the Isolation indexes) to portray the residential patterns of refugees and immigrants as there are reflected in the school enrolments of their children. Additionally, information acquired through in-depth semi-structured interviews with refugees, enabled to shed further light on their locational preferences and to outline possible movements in the near future.