Forging Hispanic Communities in New Destinations: A Case Study of Durham, North Carolina

TitleForging Hispanic Communities in New Destinations: A Case Study of Durham, North Carolina
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsFlippen, Chenoa A., and Emilio A. Parrado
JournalCity & Community
ISBN Number1540-6040
Accession NumberPMID: 24482612
AbstractThe Chicago School of urban sociology and its extension in the spatial assimilation model have provided the dominant framework for understanding the interplay between immigrant social and spatial mobility. However, the main tenets of the theory were derived from the experience of prewar, centralized cities; scholars falling under the umbrella of the Los Angeles School have recently challenged the extent to which they are applicable to the contemporary urban form, which is characterized by sprawling, decentralized, and multinucleated development. Indeed, new immigrant destinations, such as those scattered throughout the American Southeast, are both decentralized and lack prior experience with large-scale immigration. Informed by this debate this paper traces the formation and early evolution of Hispanic neighborhoods in Durham, NC, a new immigrant destination. Using qualitative data we construct a social history of immigrant neighborhoods and apply survey and census information to examine the spatial pattern of neighborhood succession. We also model the sorting of immigrants across neighborhoods according to personal characteristics. Despite the many differences in urban form and experience with immigration, the main processes forging the early development of Hispanic neighborhoods in Durham are remarkably consistent with the spatial expectations from the Chicago School, though the sorting of immigrants across neighborhoods is more closely connected to family dynamics and political economy considerations than purely human capital attributes.