Sanctuary in the city? Urban displacement and vulnerability

March 2009
Status: 
Active
Leaders: 
Sara Pantuliano
Team: 
Ashley Jackson, Simone Haysom, Sean Loughna, Victoria Metcalfe, Sara Pavanello, Samir Elhawary, Ellen Martin
Through field research in eight urban centres in Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia, this project will explore the phenomenon of displacement in the urban environment and the implications and challenges it poses for humanitarian action.
Overview

In recent decades, many cities and towns around the world have seen dramatic population growth, with significant inflows from rural areas. A prominent feature of this global trend of urbanisation is forced displacement triggered by armed conflict, violence and political instability, and slow and sudden-onset disasters, or a combination of these factors. Many of those forcibly displaced have moved to urban areas in search of greater security, including a degree of anonymity, better access to basic services and greater economic opportunities.

While a number of studies in recent years have sought to analyse urban livelihoods and governance, little is known about how displaced people negotiate their way in the urban environment, their relationships with host communities and governance institutions, and their specific vulnerabilities as compared with other urban poor. Likewise, the role of humanitarian and development actors in supporting these populations, and the strategies and approaches best suited to address the assistance and protection needs of urban Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), are poorly understood.

This project will explore the phenomenon of displacement in the urban environment and the implications and challenges it poses for humanitarian action. Through field research in eight urban centres in Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia, the project considers the reality of life for displaced people, investigates the policy and operational challenges that confront national and inter-national stakeholders when responding to the needs of urban IDPs and refugees, and offers recommendations for strengthening support to these groups.

Humanitarian Policy Group
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark (MFA)
Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC)
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
Outputs

Sanctuary in the city? Urban displacement and vulnerability in Peshawar, Pakistan

Publication - May 2013
Irina Mosel and Ashley Jackson
What are the challenges facing displaced populations in the context of rapid urbanisation? Based on more than 250 interviews with residents, IDPs, and Afghan refugees, as well as those tasked with assisting them, this paper seeks to examine urban displacement and vulnerability in Peshawar, Pakistan, one of the largest recipient cities for refugees and IDPs in South Asia.

Gaza calling: conflict and displacement in the Gaza Strip

Event - 4 March 2013 14:00 - 16:00 (GMT+00)

This event is scheduled to launch Sanctuary in the city? Urban displacement and vulnerability in the Gaza Strip, a look at internal displacement over the past ten years in Gaza. With a live video link to Gaza, this event will bring together Palestinian and international speakers to explore the multi-faceted effects of the conflict on civilians, and up to date assessment of how displaced populations have fared since the Pillar of Defence military operation in November 2012.

Urban displacement and development: moving the debate forward

Event - 7 - 8 February 2013

On 7-8 February 2013, the Humanitarian Policy Group (HPG) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Denmark will hold a conference on urban displacement. The event will bring together development specialists (donors, policy-makers, academics and practitioners) and humanitarian professionals to explore new approaches to addressing the plight of the urban displaced.

Sanctuary in the city? Urban displacement and vulnerability in the Gaza Strip

Publication - December 2012
Simone Haysom and Wasseem el Sarraj
This HPG Working Paper examines the successive waves of forced displacement in Gaza in recent years and explores the consequences of upheaval generated by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for the citizens of Gaza. Based on hundreds of interviews with residents and those tasked with assisting them the paper considers the many factors that generate displacement, loss of shelter, livelihoods and life in the Gaza Strip.

Urbanisation and humanitarian action

Event - 15 March 2012 13:00 - 15:00 (GMT+00)

HPG is currently undertaking a series of eight case studies in Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia focusing specifically on the vulnerabilities of displaced populations in urban areas and how national and international actors can best respond. Simone Haysom will present a selection of findings from the studies on urbanisation and humanitarian action.

Sanctuary in the city? Urban displacement and vulnerability in Damascus - A desk study

Publication - December 2011
Simone Haysom and Sara Pavanello
This study focuses on urbanisation, displacement and vulnerability in the Syrian capital, Damascus. Research aims to consider the reality of life for displaced populations in urban areas, investigate the policy and operational challenges that confront national and international stakeholders when responding to the needs of urban internally displaced people (IDPs) and refugees, and offer recommendations for strengthening support to these populations.