Towards Urban Asylum

Research, Ongoing

Policies, Approaches and Consequences of the Reception of Refugees in European and US American Cities. FWO PhD Fellowship

Forced migration is a global phenomenon, which is politically regulated on supranational and national levels. However, it is the city where the arrival, accommodation and integration of refugees take place. Whereas current research explores the failures of nation-states to address the needs of refugees and to provide solutions to the challenges of housing and integration, there is a lack of studies on how urban policies will be central to refugee resettlement, housing challenges and integration practices. This PhD extends the debate towards the city’s abilities to handle and integrate refugees in European and US-American migration regimes. To do so, it focuses on 1) the relation between state authority and urban autonomy and the development of national and local housing and integration policies, 2) the local implementation of housing forms and their objectives, 3) built and social urban (infra-)structures as well as 4) the refugees’ perception on the consequences of housing and integration practices. Applying a qualitative research approach consisting of policy and stakeholder analysis, interviews with experts, local authorities and persons affected as well as spatial analyses of refugee infrastructures, the thesis plans to clarify the role of the urban in the face of different political systems and national approaches towards refugees in arrival cities in Europe and the US. It assumes that metropoles, as traditional migrant destinations, develop particular practices – despite national frameworks – towards urban asylum systems.