Immigrant Foodways

By: Noah Allison  

One estimate suggests that by 2050, approximately 67 percent of the world’s people will live in cities, as opposed to just over 50 percent today. More people, from more diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds, subject to more varied conditions of mobility and legal statuses are therefore coming into regular contact with one another in today’s growing cities—a concept that Vertovec refers to as super-diversity. Alba and Foner hypothesize that super-diverse neighborhoods will become more common as populations grow more ethnically diverse, an inevitable result of contemporary demographic forces as diversity spreads outside of its current areas of concentration. By examining immigrant operated food businesses in Queens, New York City’s largest borough and the nation’s most ethnically and racially heterogeneous county, where over 150 different languages are spoken, this paper examines ethnic multiplicity to not only understand how it affects the ongoing dynamics of different modes of social differentiation, but to reveal how super-diversity influences identities, social relations, and everyday urban places in today’s growing cities. Insights generated from this paper are important not only because they reveal new meanings concerning everyday life in global cities, but also because they illuminate empirical implications that could influence the way in which cities are imagined, structured, designed, and managed.

Defining Identity Multiculturalism
Community Diversity and Governance
Virtual Poster

Noah Allison

The New School

Noah is a PhD candidate in Urban Policy at The New School. His research explores diversity and everyday urban places through the lens of food. He is also a professional planner for New York City Transit.