Urbani izziv Volume 27, No. 1, June 2016 : 132–148

UDK: 341.215.4-054.72:711.581:316.42:911.375.632(944.1)
doi: 10.5379/urbani-izziv-en-2016-27-01-004


   Article in PDF format




University of Technology Sydney, Australia, School of Built Environment, Australia

Hae Seong JANG

The University of Sydney (formerly) and currently affiliated with Yonsei University, Centre for Australian Studies, South Korea



Migrants and the transformation of local neighbourhoods: A study of the socioeconomic transformation of Lidcombe, Australia



A major contributor to negative attitudes towards migrants is that they exert pressure on the facilities of the host communities without making any (substantial) contribution to the host economy and society. This negative sentiment is particularly acute in cities, where pressure on amenities is concentrated and more visible. In turn, migrant neighbourhoods are particularly despised. Migration experiences in the Rookwood Cemetery area of Sydney, Australia, widely regarded as the “largest necropolis in the southern hemisphere”, however, challenge this stereotypical view. This migrant neighbourhood is the site of vibrant and diverse migration and migrant (especially Korean) activities never before seen in the history of the area, which is now called Lidcombe. Drawing on multiple sources of evidence, including archival research at local libraries, discussion with long-time residents of the neighbourhood and visual ethnography (analysed from the historical-structural perspective in migration studies), this study offers a history of Lidcombe and appraises its twenty-first-century migration experiences. By doing so, it highlights the demographic, social and economic changes to emphasise the contribution of migrants to the regeneration of a “dead city” and also to contest inherited stereotypes of migrants that often lead to racial scapegoating and misrepresentation as “parasites”, “criminals” and a “drain” on the host economy. Overall, this case study suggests that migrants can and often do transform the spaces they occupy in ways that make a positive and lasting contribution to the host economy and society more generally. This is an important lesson for European countries facing the “migrant crisis” to consider, as it also is for politicians around the world seeking to wall out migrants to protect host economies and societies.


Key Words

urban necropolis, migration, migrants, local economic development





Urbanistični inštitut RS
Urbani izziv - Editorial Board
Trnovski pristan 2, 1000 Ljubljana, SLO

  + 386 (0)1 420 13 10


Print edition: 0353-6483
Web edition: 1855-8399
Professional edition: 2232-481X


h5-index: 14
h5-median: 20
ICI Journals master list 2022: 121,34
Indeksirano v ESCI



SCImago Journal & Country Rank

88th percentile
Powered by  Scopus

SNIP (2020): 0.79
CiteScoreTracker (2022): 1.8

Copyright 2024 by UIRS
Back To Top