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  • Author or Editor: Ilse van Liempt x
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The city – rather than the state – plays an important role in refugee youth’s everyday experiences. In this chapter, we draw upon participatory research among young refugees and asylum seekers in Amsterdam to illustrate the lived experiences of these youngsters in public spaces in the urban fabric of Amsterdam. We illustrate their favourite places, the use and meaning of these spaces, and how these spaces impact their sense of belonging in both the Netherlands and Amsterdam. The findings show that it is not self-evident for refugee youth who are new to the city to immediately exploit the potential of public space. Semi-public spaces can fill an important role in providing a safe and meaningful space for refugees’ integration and participation in society. At the same time it is not self-evident to transmit these encounters beyond these semi-public places, which illustrates that conviviality is spatially bound to specific places.

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In the concluding chapter, we reflect on the everyday experiences of young refugees and asylum-seekers in public spaces and how they are shaped by dominant political discourses in the host society, while also being expressions of (micro-)political claims to belonging and the right to the city. The complexity of political issues and the hostile political contexts in which refugee youth often find themselves is a key issue for ongoing research in this field. So too are the creative and engaging ways in which young refugees engage in, resist, challenge and rework political issues in different spaces and times. Such analyses also include reflections on what constitutes the publicness of public spaces and the role played therein of visibility.

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The introductory chapter of the book explains the overall focus on refugee youth as active agents and our interest in urban space. By putting personal and everyday geographies of refugee youth central we do not overlook structural forms of exclusion that take place but we show how young people themselves make sense of their lives in the new places of arrival. By putting their experiences centre stage we move beyond the mainstream domains, formal community or organisational settings and locations. The various chapters in the book illustrate how our focus on public space offers opportunities to explore meaningful spaces for refugee youth that include spaces that might be created by refugee youth themselves. Moreover, this collection explores the lived experiences of refugee youth in urban public space in a highly diverse range of international contexts and with specific attention to gender which allows us to illustrate how urban public space is actively produced in many different ways.

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Migration, Justice and Urban Space

Telling the stories of young refugees in a range of international urban settings, this book explores how newcomers navigate urban spaces and negotiate multiple injustices in their everyday lives.

This innovative edited volume is based on in-depth, qualitative research with young refugees and their perspectives on migration, social relations, and cultural spaces. The chapters give voice to refugee youth from a wide variety of social backgrounds, including insights about their migration experiences, their negotiations of spatial justice and injustice, and the diverse ways in which they use urban space.

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