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ARRIVAL CITY: Starting out at the end of the line

A vivid new documentary on the people and places shaping our future

In the next decades, more than two billion rural people will gather their scant possessions and gamble their lives on a move to the city. Official response to the ragged communities – the “Arrival Cities” – where they cluster can mean the difference between riches and riots.

The consequences aren’t just local. The last surge anywhere near this scale spawned revolutions of all kinds around the world. This final migration could have as much impact… at an accelerated rate.

The people in Arrival Cities want to succeed, and governments want their cities to function. So why do some Arrival Cities fail and others thrive? Can their fortunes be changed? These are the questions Arrival City will ask, and try to answer.

WHAT IS AN “ARRIVAL CITY”?

We call them slums, favelas, barrios – dirty, chaotic, dangerous, they look like the end of the line. But are they? People pouring in from the countryside don’t see it that way. These chaotic communities are where they come to start a life, or at least to build a better one for their children.

This is their story. And it’s a story that will affect us all.

“Arrival City”, a 60-minute film based on the internationally acclaimed book by Doug Saunders, turns the idea of the dead-end slum on its head. At ground level, we meet Arrival City newcomers struggling to break into the core city – and the middle class. At the citywide level, we see officials struggling to manage the unmanageable, keeping arrival cities from collapsing, or from bleeding into the rest of the metropolis. At the global level, we hear how our connectedness delivers innovations, pandemics, and political movements from the arrival city right to your front door.