Urban displacement

This thematic series explores the scale, nature and dynamics of internal displacement in towns and cities across the world. 

Research agenda

The increasingly long-term and intractable nature of displacement, particularly for people in low and middle-income countries, means that camp settings are not a viable option in the long term.

In the 21st century urban centres have increasingly become destinations for internally displaced people. This is not a new phenomenon, but its real scale at regional and global levels is not known. We also know little about the extent to which cities provide safe havens for those internally displaced and the degree to which they are able to establish new urban lives. And we have only limited insights into how displacement shapes urban systems as well as the way displacement risk is generated within cities.

Our new thematic series seeks to fill the information gap by exploring the scale, nature, and dynamics of urban internal displacement across the world from the perspective of both internally displaced people and that of the cities they flee to.

Latest publication

Somalia experienced a sharp increase in new displacements associated with both conflict and disasters in 2017 and the first half of 2018. Many of those displaced have moved from rural areas to the country’s main cities in search of shelter, protection and humanitarian assistance. Mogadishu has been at the centre of the recent displacement crisis. Within the city, forced evictions have triggered secondary displacement, and data shows that the vast majority of those evicted had already been displaced before. Displacement is clearly shaping Somalia’s urban landscape and contributing to its urbanisation rate, which is one of the highest in the world.

This is the second case study in our thematic series “Unsettlement: urban displacement in the 21st century”. It discusses the latest developments in terms of rural to urban displacement in Somalia and the ongoing situation in the capital. By examining the drivers and patterns of urban displacement, it aims to contribute to broader discussions on the nature of the phenomenon, increase knowledge and inform programming and policymaking to address and reduce it.

Research lead

Vicente Anzellini 

We are always looking to strengthen and expand partnerships. If you are interested in working with us, please contact vicente.anzellini@idmc.ch.

Have a look at our other research areas here