Tiit Tammaru: European societies and cities have changed

Tuesday, 05 April 2016
Tiit Tammaru, professor of urban and population geography at the University of Tartu. Tiit Tammaru, professor of urban and population geography at the University of Tartu. Photo: norden.ee

The number of men on the streets of European cities in on the rise whereas the number of women is decreasing. Previously, the streets were dominated by women, who use public transport more often while men prefer to get around by car.

Providing a summary for the second day (1 April) of the fourth Nordic and Baltic Migration Conference "Immigration to the Nordic-Baltic Region: New Trends and Integration Challenges" is Tiit Tammaru, professor of urban and population geography at the University of Tartu. This summary reflects the personal opinions of Tiit Tammaru.

This detail about the concentration of men and women on the streets of European cities tells us that immigration and integration are complex topics. At the moment, we are concentrating on social integration: housing, language, education, etc. Less attention has been given to wider spaces – cities. At the same time, the development of social networks between immigrants and citizens of the target country plays a decisive role in the integration process. Right now we are dealing with ethnic hierarchies that can no longer be ignored.

We are facing huge numbers of immigrants. For example, the number of immigrants that arrive in Finland every year is equivalent to the population of Pärnu. How do we welcome and help these people? To date, integration has been a rather uniform process, but experts agree that an individual approach is more effective.

The education level of immigrants tends to be low. How do we encourage interaction with local people? It is important to concentrate on children’s education and integrate them through schools.

Meanwhile, we have to support education in the source countries of this migration. Should we use development assistance to improve the education system of these countries?

Tiit Tammaru’s summary presentation can be found here.


Click here for presentations and video recordings from the conference. View pictures. For more information about the migration and population development project launched by the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Office in Estonia in 2013, click here.


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Kertu Kärk

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