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These Images Show What Cities Would Look Like Without Immigration

Over the last year, movement around the world has slowed down thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic and has in turn highlighted just how essential travel, or moving somewhere new, is for human life. Not only for enabling us to gain new experiences, but also for advancing the culture in countries around the globe.

To put this into perspective, remittance provider Remitly has analysed architecture in some of the world’s most famous skylines – asking what they might look like if all foreign influences were removed?

To achieve this, the Remitly team created a set of striking visuals that take a skyline, and then re-imagine it with only buildings designed by natives to the country remaining. If an architect was born outside of the country they designed a building for, the building was removed.

The result is a set of visuals that immediately show what the world would lose without immigration and just how important these cultural influences and ideas are on the places we call home. See for yourself below!

New York City

The Manhattan skyline stands tall as one of the most recognisable skylines in the world with modern architecture mixing with old. But take away Brooklyn Bridge, 8 Spruce Street and the likes of 55 Water Street, and the skyline immediately loses some of its scale. Outside of the skyline seen in Remitly’s visuals, the story of the skyline being influenced by other nationalities continues, with the Statue of Liberty, a renowned symbol of freedom seen by immigrants arriving by sea, designed by Frenchman Frederic Auguste Bartholdi.


London’s skyline is becoming more and more vertical, with striking shapes such as The Shard and the Walkie Talkie punctuating the horizon. However, take away the foreign influences, and it’s a much more flat, and less interesting skyline to look at. Italian architect Renzo Piano created The Shard and News Building, while Uruguayan architect Rafael Vinoly created the distinctive Walkie Talkie, among many others designed by architects from outside of England.


The Pudong skyline of Shanghai is brimming with colour and is one of the most iconic, modern skylines in the world. However, take foreign influences out of the equation, and you realise that the skyline is also brimming with the work of architects from outside of China. With work from prominent American, Japanese, Argentine and German architects to name a few, Shanghai is a shining example of the beauty that can be created from bringing new cultures and ideas to a location.


While some of Paris’s most famous buildings such as the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe and Notre Dame Cathedral were designed by French architects, the skyline emerging in La Defense, the world’s largest purpose-built business district, is lined with designs from overseas. Most notably, the centrepiece of this skyline, La Grande Arche de la Defense was designed by Johan Otto von Sprecklesen from Denmark.


The final skyline to show just how important immigration is around the entire world is Sydney, and the difference between its actual skyline and what it could look like is immediately visible. The Sydney Opera House, its famous Harbour Bridge and many of the city’s skyscrapers disappear, having been designed by architects from overseas. One of the most recognisable buildings on Earth, the Opera House was designed by Danish architect Jorn Utzon, but it wouldn’t be there without globalisation!

Beyond the five cities above, Remitly also looked at 10 further cities and 200 buildings in total, finding that 62% of the most prominent buildings on Earth were designed by someone from outside of the country in question. Again showing the incredible part the whole world has played in the places we live.

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