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.

Featured project: Pacific Response to Disaster Displacement

Inhabitants of developing island states in the Pacific are amongst those most at risk of being displaced by disasters. The Pacific Response to Disaster Displacement (PRDD) project is generating new evidence to better understand, plan for, prevent, and respond to disaster displacement in the Pacific region.

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Latest publication

War and displacement in Yemen are not primarily urban in nature. Despite the amount of media attention given to key urban battles such as the siege of Taiz and the battle for Hodeidah, nearly 70 per cent of conflict and displacement takes place in rural areas. 

This is the third case study in our thematic series 'Unsettlement: urban displacement in the 21st century'. The paper examines the urban and rural characteristics of displacement in Yemen, including the push and pull factors in both areas. It provides an overview of historical urbanisation trends in the country, and a rural-urban disaggregation of large conflict and displacement datasets from ACLED and IOM. It examines rural and urban displacement patters and assesses host conditions and the status of basic services in urban centres. It looks specifically at the conditions in the cities of Taiz and Aden, as they both create internal displacement and shelter IDPs. It also analyses future intentions and preferences for durable solutions along urban and rural lines.

Research lead

Scott Lloyd

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

Have a look at our other research areas here