Author: Pablo Bose
From: The Northeastern Geographer, Vol. 7
As the papers in this special issue demonstrate, the story of migration into and out of Vermont is a complex one. For urban geographers or migration studies specialists the state would not seem like an obvious place to situate one’s work. Instead the bulk of such scholarship has focused on large-scale immigration, especially to so-called ‘gateway cities’ like New York, Toronto, and London (Singer, Hardwick and Brettel 2008). Yet as these collected papers and much of the emerging dynamics of migration in Vermont today demonstrate, the state is a microcosm—albeit with its own peculiarities and uniqueness—of many of the same processes, motivations and dynamics that have driven people in and out of place in the United States as well as internationally, both historically and in the present moment. In this paper therefore I shall briefly lay out some of the connections between migration patterns in Vermont and these broader global processes. I begin by briefly reviewing some of the key concepts in migration scholarship and examine how the papers in this special issue illustrate such themes. In the second half of this paper I focus more specifically on my own research on migrations in Vermont with a discussion of some of the most recent movements into the state, those of officially resettled refugees over the past three decades. As with the movements in and out of Vermont highlighted by the other authors in this issue, refugee arrivals and acculturation demonstrate both the similarities and stark differences in migration flows in a semi-rural region in the northeastern part of the United States with the movements of people across the globe.
Author: Pablo S. Bose
From: Journal of Transport Geography
This paper explores the idea of mobility for recent refugees who have resettled in a non-traditional immigrant destination in the northeastern U.S. It is based on a multi-year qualitative study of travel behavior, preferences, and needs amongst these new arrivals in a small city in the state of Vermont. As a result of their experiences of both forced displacement from their home as well as stasis within camp settings and the refugee determination process, refugees are an example of what some have called ‘‘a dialectic of movement/moorings’’ (Urry, 2003: 125), both on the move and trapped in place. Their resettlement in the U.S., as this paper illustrates, may represent a further extension of this dialectic—placed by government agents in new immigrant reception areas not of their own choosing, forced to commute long distances and into unfamiliar environments for work and limited in their abilities to access healthcare, education and employment (amongst other services) due to a range of transportation barriers. I argue in this paper that refugee mobilities in a new settlement site are about more than inconvenience: barriers to movement may constitute obstacles to acculturation, integration, self-empowerment, and community building.
Building sustainable communities: Immigrants and mobility in Vermont
Author: Pablo S. Bose
From: Research in Transportation & Business Management
The theory and practice of sustainability involve engaging a delicate balance between often competing interests, usually defined in terms of the ecological, economic, and social arenas. The complexities apparent in balancing such tensions become especially evident if we consider transportation equity, specifically in the context of urban planning and managing both population growth and demographic change. This paper examines issues of access, transportation, and sustainability – in its myriad forms – for refugees settling in Vermont. With relatively homogenous populations and a lack of resettlement services common to many traditional immigrant destinations, small towns in Vermont present a particular challenge for refugees arriving from diverse locations in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Drawing on the extant literature regarding sustainable transportation, spatial mismatch, accessibility, and environmental justice, this paper details the results of a community-based project using surveys and key informant interviews in order to explore the transportation experiences and challenges faced by refugees in Vermont. In particular, the paper looks at gaps that refugees have identified in existing infrastructure as well as modes and hierarchies of transportation choice. Additionally, the paper examines the attempt to include refugee perspectives in regional transportation planning initiatives, including one county’s federally supported sustainable communities plan.