Development: A Survey of Best Practices and Future Recommendations
Number of pages
Publication date

Mainstreaming Migration and Displacement in Urban Planning and Public Space Development: A Survey of Best Practices and Future Recommendations

As urbanisation rapidly increases, cities face growing challenges in accommodating the needs of all their residents, notably those of rising numbers of migrants and displaced people seeking refuge and opportunity. Ensuring improved living conditions and expanded access to adequte services for all, though, demands innovative, sustainable solutions that go beyond traditional, often siloed, humanitarian responses. Through participatory urban planning  and the implementation of inclusive public spaces, cities and local governments can leverage coordinated, innovative, and complementary strategies to manage migration flows and harness the opportunities they bring. 

This publication explores the relationship between urban issues and migration, highlighting UN-Habitat’s efforts to address these challenges and promote equity, integration, and sustainability. Supported by recommendations and case studies from across the organisation’s recent operational programming, the publication presents five broad principles for improving urban planning and public space development in contexts impacted by protracted displacement: 

1. Multi-Scalar Urban and Territorial Planning: Engage affected communities and foster cooperation between actors. 

2. Informed Decision-Making: Undertake urban profiling and spatial analysis based on local data and knowledge to tailor interventions. 

3. Locally-Led and Responsive Policies and Governance: Empower local authorities to manage urban migrants. 

4. Inclusive and Participatory Processes: Incorporate participatory approaches to promote social cohesion and meet diverse needs. 

5. Local Economic Development: Prioritise economic considerations  to stimulate growth and enhance livelihoods. 

The recommendations build on previous UN-Habitat initiatives to advance evidence-based approaches, establish future best practices, and guide urban practitioners, policymakers, and local authorities in policy and program development.