Designing for Displacement:  A Spatial Guide for Planning Along Seasonal Rivers in Drylands
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Designing for Displacement: A Spatial Guide for Planning Along Seasonal Rivers in Drylands

UN-Habitat is mandated to promote the development of socially and environmentally sustainable human settlements while addressing the multifaceted challenges confronting urban areas: climate change, environmental degradation, informal expansion, spatial segregation, economic exclusion, and irregular migration. With instability triggered by conflicts, crises, and climate shifts becoming more persistent and widespread, the global landscape witnesses a surge in individuals enduring protracted displacement. A significant portion of these individuals find refuge in some of the world’s most impoverished and resource-scarce nations, often settling in areas already grappling with economic and environmental challenges. Consequently, relying on humanitarian aid alone often falls short in meeting the enduring needs of these displaced populations and their host communities.

In acknowledgement of the intricate links between humanitarian crises, climate shifts, and settlement challenges, this guide aims to establish a knowledge repository of spatial planning and design strategies. These strategies are intended for adoption by humanitarian and development practitioners, national and local governments, and other stakeholders. Specifically, it introduces a collection of Nature-based Solutions (NbS) tailored for use in the context of protracted displacement in dryland regions marked by intermittent or seasonal rivers, notably within the arid and semi-arid land (ASAL) territories of East Africa.

By building on existing knowledge and traditional techniques, this technical resource promotes sustainable land and resource management. It introduces cost-effective and sustainable techniques alongside complementary avenues for economic development and livelihood enhancement. While recognising the diversifying challenges and the imperative of context specific planning rooted in local expertise, this guide has been assembled to inspire all those striving to improve self-sufficiency and climate resilience while planning for the sustainable development of dryland settlements impacted by intermittent rivers.