Immigration and multicultural place-making in rural and regional Australia

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Demographic change in Australia's rural landscapes: Implications for society and the environment, 2011, 1, pp. 259 - 280
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There has been comparatively little research on the relationship between immigrants and place in the context of rural and regional Australia. Considering that immigration to regional and rural Australia has been given important national importance we argue that the contemporary research on rural ethnic landscapes should be broadened to discuss the impact of different ethnic groups on the built environment of rural townships. The immigrants settling down in rural areas have transformed rural landscapes through the construction of public and private spaces expressing their cultural heritage. These sites can significantly impact the dynamics of social cohesion and intercultural relations in multicultural rural communities. They can also have a role in attracting and retaining immigrants in non-metropolitan areas. This chapter links the built environment and immigration in rural Australia and explores the potential role of the sites built by rural ethnic minorities in facilitating intra-group and inter-group social encounter, trust and networks. The chapter then outlines the empirical findings from applying these concepts to the sites built and used by non-Anglo-Celtic immigrants to Griffith, a regional city in south-western New South Wales (NSW), and Katanning, a small rural community south-east of Perth in Western Australia (WA).
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