Urbanization

The humanitarian system is placing greater emphasis on developing the understanding and programmatic approaches necessary to improve crisis response in an urban environment. In short, the system is confronted by the growing urbanization of humanitarian crisis, driven by changing conflict dynamics, burgeoning urban fragility, increasing susceptibility to disasters and a rapidly urbanizing world. Compared to rural areas or camp settings, cities present unique context challenges: sheer density and numbers of people, complex and often robust/controlling government structures or the invisibility of people in need of assistance among large urban populations, to name but a few.

People walking down street in urban environment where several buildings have collapsed following a disaster

Photo: IOM

Key references

Overview of existing knowledge gaps for responding to humanitarian urban crises, as well as the challenges and opportunities ahead

Paper outlining systems and stakeholders in urban areas and what is important for humanitarians to know when responding in complex urban environment

Report on developing a better approach to assisting people in urban areas during protracted armed conflict

Tools for the job

Guidance on how to apply the urban context analysis toolkit, a set of practical tools to conduct an analysis in urban humanitarian response

Guidance on how to apply the urban multi-sector vulnerability assessment tool

Tool aiming to support the identification of appropriate multi-sector responses for urban programs

Key actors

Provides technical support to humanitarian response in recovery and reconstruction efforts following major disasters and conflict

Collaboration between the International Rescue Committee, Norwegian Refugee Council, and World Vision to develop tools and practical guidance notes to promote improved responses to urban crises

Has a focus on the growing trend of urbanization of warfare, the impact on civilian population, and its legal and operational challenges for humanitarian action. Featured the 2017 Conference Cycle on War in Cities.

Resource portal including reports, lessons learnt, policies, tools, and methodologies relevant to responding to crises in urban environments

Has a focus on the growing trend of urbanization of warfare, the impact on civilian population, and its legal and operational challenges for humanitarian action. Featured the 2017 Conference Cycle on War in Cities.

Conducts research on the challenges and new opportunities for innovation of urban crisis to humanitarian action

Upcoming courses:

29 April-3 May:
Geneva

24-28 June:
Brussels

8-12 July:
Beirut