How does a place like Little Italy or Little Havana become part of a major city?


How does a place like Little Italy or Little Havana become part of a major city?

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They are technically called diasporas. Historically, migrants have been moving to more prosperous and urban areas to seek opportunities. Due to their cultural affinity, migrants from similar backgrounds form clusters to support each other economically, socially and emotionally. It can also be called agglomeration, where businesses selling complementary or substitute goods and services are concentrated to make them productive.

They didn’t “become a part of a major city”, they are in the big city. Little Italy (and everything around it) existed before the major waves of Italian immigrations to NYC in the early XX century, and was mostly farmland of the Dutch and later English early colonists. As the city was growing, it became more urbanized and when the first waves of Italian immigration started it attracted people of similar backgrounds because they could find work, speak their native language, keep cultural, social, family ties etc. Nowadays Little Italy is mostly part of Chinatown showing similar dynamic

A major city attracts migrants, and migrants often prefer (or are sometimes forced) to settle near others who share their background.

So you end up with a street in the city with a few Italian families living on it, and one of them lives above the restaurant they run, and this attracts other Italian migrants to move in nearby and open more restaurants to give everyone a taste of home
and they maybe have a street party celebrating their shared heritage, and decorate their buildings in traditional Italian styles and before you know it people are calling it Little Italy.