Spatial assimilation theory, the traditional framework for analysing urban immigration and housing, was deeply shaped by the historical-geographic contingencies of American urbanism in the 1950s and 1960s. Yet the most recent and forceful challenge to assimilationist research-transnational urbanism-is also influenced by distinctive contemporary circumstances and epistemological priorities, creating a tense and unproductive dichotomy. We contend that such apparently fundamental theoretical disputes are at least partially resolved through methodological pluralism. Understanding continuity and change in immigrant settlement and housing patterns requires that we draw on the distinct, complementary merits of transnational urbanist and spatial assimilation models-while also recognising the features of American urban development and race relations that create powerful incentives shaping the spatial trajectories of immigrant upward mobility. We evaluate these considerations through empirical case studies of the recent rise of home-ownership among Hmong immigrants in St Paul, Minnesota, and the interrelations between immigration and the intensified mortgage capitalisation of US housing markets.

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Keywords Home-ownership, Immigration, Spatial assimilation, Transnational urbanism, US cities
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Journal Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
Wyly, E.K. (Elvin K.), Martin, D.G. (Deborah G.), Mendez, P. (Pablo), & Holloway, S.R. (Steven R.). (2010). Transnational tense: Immigration and inequality in American housing markets. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 36(2), 187–208. doi:10.1080/13691830903387303