Urbanised migration: Rethinking the dispersal process to help us find a progressive answer to refugee arrivals

There are complex social, political and economic reasons that explain why many asylum seekers and […]

Policy Study


There are complex social, political and economic reasons that explain why many asylum seekers and refugees travelling into Europe settle in major urban centres. For refugees who arrive to seek asylum, where they end up may be a matter of choice or a result of other factors: a link with friends or family; a paid transaction with a smuggler; or a governmental dispersal process. In this paper we analyse how governmental dispersal processes are used by some European states to move asylum seekers to designated spaces, and why this is often problematic for the settlement and integration of newly arrived communities. At present the reception conditions in many European cities are often inadequate for providing sufficient social and practical support for refugees, and this can make it difficult for those who arrive to rebuild their lives, or to make meaningful, enduring connections with their new communities. This paper focuses on the underexplored, urban dimension of refugee reception to explore how European cities respond to newly arrived refugees, and what opportunities exist to adopt a more progressive approach in providing for their needs, and fostering a more inclusive environment.

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