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

Assessing urban disaster displacement risk

Displacement risk associated with disasters and climate change is concentrated in cities and expected to increase in the coming years. Therefore, determining a hazard-prone city’s displacement risk profile is key to sustainable development, effective humanitarian response and long-term prevention of displacement.

This report focuses on the potential of urban planning strategies to establish enabling environments in which citizens participate in managing disaster displacement risk. It presents promising practices from different cities around the world to highlight how such forms of engagement contribute to whole-of-society approaches to urban resilience. It highlights why and how risk assessments need to become an integral part of urban planning, and presents an original tool that allows local authorities to assess disaster displacement risk in their urban area.

Research lead

Christelle Cazabat

We are always looking to strengthen and expand our existing partnerships. If you are interested in working with us on urban displacement, please contact christelle.cazabat@idmc.ch.

Have a look at our other research areas