Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Swarthmore Migration Project

In the process of digesting the deluge of information about Philadelphia's resurgent immigration numbers, I stumbled upon The Swarthmore Migration Project:

The Swarthmore Migration Project is an online multimedia project started by a group of students at Swarthmore College. It aims to increase awareness of migration issues by giving a voice to people whose stories have been ignored, underreported, or misunderstood. It weaves these stories together using text, audio, photography, and video to provide new insights on multiculturalism and globalization. It intends to foster discussion by creating a portal for those those who are looking for a basic understanding of migration as a phenomenon, as well as who seek an in-depth understanding of the issues.

I'd like to see OMGPittsburgh, which has received some press of late (here and here), evolve into something like the above. What are the trials and tribulations of any new arrival to Pittsburgh? How did they find their way to the city? My idea is to unearth the pathways that lead people to Pittsburgh and then work to enhance those flows.

Reading the Brookings report, I found a few opportunities for increasing immigration to Pittsburgh. Philadelphia, like Pittsburgh, attracts a fair number of foreign born talent to its colleges and universities. But once the education immigrants graduate, most of them leave the area. That secondary migration is inevitable, but the destination for employment isn't set in stone. Philadelphia is a good place for Pittsburgh to mine in order to improve its own demography.

Anyone interested in starting a Burgh Migration Project?

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