Resilient Cities - Bonn 2013 - Banner
Resilient Cities - Bonn 2013 - Banner

Receiving urban refugees: Strengthening the social fabric for resilient cities today and tomorrow

A special feature plenary on the topic of Forced Migration in Cities took place for the first time at the Resilient Cities congress.

As refugee movements have increased in recent years – especially due to the protracted crisis in Syria – the traditional image of refugees living in sprawling tents outside of cities no longer represents reality. Most refugees (according to urbanrefugees.org 58% of the refugee population) settle in urban areas. Although, urban settlements present an opportunity for the refugees to build a better future for their families, this tendency is posing great challenges for local and regional governments to manage and respond to the large influx people and accommodate the needs of millions in terms of housing, infrastructure, food, education, employment, and even physical space in the crowded city centers of the 21 st century cities. 

This special plenary explored how cities are incorporating forced migration related initiatives in their urban climate adaptation and resilience planning and reviewing how an unprecedented inflow of people affects urban management, urban planning, shelter and housing, infrastructure adjustment and social policy implementation. Issues of integration, administrative and infrastructural adjustment, as well as future urban planning tailored to increased migration tendencies were discussed.

Keynote Alfredo Zamudio, Director, Nansen Center for Peace and Dialogue, Norway

Mr. Zamudio introduced the topic and the drivers and triggers of displacement (internal and/or cross boarder). The conversation focused on solutions and good practice, i.e. what can local governments, policy makers, and communities do to accommodate the new arrivals in social, economic, and urban planning terms, while at the same time preserving and, when possible, enhancing their city resilience efforts.

Response Rüdiger Wagner, Director of Social Services, Refugee coordinator, City of Bonn, Germany

Mr. Wagner responded to the keynote by presenting the immediate needs and challenges for the City in receiving a large influx of refugees. He then discussed long term approaches in the way of refugee integration and infrastructure adaptation to the new reality of increased migrant populations.

Chair: Ioana Popp, Migration Policy Officer, International Organization for Migration, Geneva, Switzerland

Ms. Popp closed the session with final remarks, summarized key messages and offered insights on future developments in forced migration in urban areas around the world. 

Click here to download the Session Description