More than two thousand field surveys in the Society’s Field Research Programme, Migrants on the margins, have now been completed and the data are being collated and analysed.
The project team are working across four cities – Harare in Zimbabwe, Hargeisa in Somaliland, Colombo in Sri Lanka and Dhaka in Bangladesh – to investigate the impact of migration on migrants and the cities they move to.
Urbanisation is a huge problem for so-called ‘second order’ cities – not capitals or mega cities, but those with one to three million inhabitants. These are often cities that are already stretched in terms of service provision and are ill-equipped to deal with sudden movements of people to them.
All four of the study cities have settlements of people who have moved to the urban environment over the last few years – sometimes from only 20-30 miles away. However many of these people then become ‘trapped’ in these informal settlements: unable to fully integrate into the city, but also unable to return to their rural livelihoods. How the cities adapt to and incorporate these large numbers of people is a major development and urban planning challenge.
In trying to address this issue, Migrants on the margins is taking an innovative research approach. It is comparative across four cities on two continents, is working very closely with those impacted and aims to have real influence at a policy level on how cities respond to internal migration in the future.
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