‘Trapped in Transition’ – life on the streets for EU accession migrants in London

Trapped in Transition. (Alexandra Urdea, Amy Greenbank, Lucrezia Barnes‐Dacey, Roz Corbett, 2009)

Waves of immigration from the former Yugoslavia, the new EU accession countries, as well as Russia, have brought many East Europeans to London, changing the ‘urban feel’ of the city. However, the dream of a stable job is harder to accomplish and the economic integration remains a dream.

Trapped in Transition portrays a side of living and searching for job in contemporary London, a city owing its economic growth to a flexible regime of accumulation. This is a parallel ‘London’, showing the other side of this system, where increasingly more often Central and Eastern European migrants ends up sleeping rough on the streets of London (18-25% and gradually increasing), whilst searching for or holding a one-day job.

This film presents the story of two East European immigrants and the way in which homelessness is experienced, negotiated and made sense of. It is about policy-exclusion and generosity, competition for scarcity of resources, exploitation from other ethnic communities as well as their own, but also kinship and migrant networks, dignity and hope. A new geography of London is unveiled through these stories. A street-crossing in Cricklewood, North London is the new centre of these economic migrants to be recruited for one-day job in the construction sector.

Even in this ‘parallel’ London, immigrants inhabit and imagine London in their own manner, creating specific networks and mental maps of the city, and interacting with other Londoners in culturally specific ways.

The film was created at the UCL Urban Documentary Film Workshop, London in Motion.

Sign up for the UCL Urban Migration Film Festival here


About (sub)urbanite

Professor of Urban Form and Society and Director of the Space Syntax Lab, Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL. Online in a personal capacity.
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One Response to ‘Trapped in Transition’ – life on the streets for EU accession migrants in London

  1. Pingback: Full list of films screened at the #UCL Urban Migration Film Festival and Symposium | Urban Migration Films

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