Urban Displacement from Different Perspectives An Overview of Approaches to Urban Displacement

In protracted urban crises, which may last decades, a variety of programming responses are employed by a diverse range of stakeholders to address basic needs, disaster risks, peace building and access to basic services. Key stakeholders, which include local authorities, international organizations, local civil society organizations and, where relevant, built environment professionals, have a critical role to play in the overall goal of integrating internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees into city life as quickly as possible. This is in recognition of the rights of refugees and IDPs to live in urban areas as “rights-holders, contributors and partners in the development of towns and cities”.Where local authorities are unable, or unwilling, to fulfill their mandate, international agencies and local civil society organizations (CSOs) will often step into this role to fulfill these responsibilities, given uncertain timeframes and limited donor interest. However, the role of international agencies may be challenging to sustain (though there are exceptions, such as in the Gaza Strip). Many towns and cities hosting displaced populations often do so while grappling with rapid and unmanaged urbanization (often with substantial numbers living in poverty), climate change stresses, and increasing disaster risks. This paper identifies the divergences and convergences of activities between the four stakeholders identified above in assisting refugees and IDPs living in urban areas. Towns and cities themselves are described using a systems approach.