Urban Planning in Times of Displacement: Secondary Cities in Ukraine and Niger

Jeremy Wetterwald and Louise Thaller

Forced Migration Review, Issue 63, February 2020



Urban displacement can have a significant impact on secondary towns and cities, as demonstrated by the experiences of municipalities in southeastern Niger and eastern Ukraine. In both cases, local authorities struggle to respond to the increased demand for public services, due to a lack of resources allocated by central/regional authorities as well as disruptions to the rule of law. The author argues that fast tracking of urban development and service improvements requires a better understanding of how to direct assistance where it is most relevant, and the mainstreaming of urban migration and displacement responses in local development strategies. Area-based approach (ABA) assessments can enable a shared understanding of priorities and can provide an analytical framework for multi-sectoral plans. For example:

Support to municipalities in Diffa was initiated by launching an ABA in four urban centers where resettlement neighborhoods were being built. The ABA assessment identified which basic services would be accessible to current and future residents, explored how access to basic amenities could be enhanced based on projections of future needs and current absorptive capacities, and clarified the challenges relating to supply and demand for basic services.

In eastern Ukraine, an ABA assessment in the government-controlled peripheries of large non-government controlled urban centers helped facilitate a shared understanding between key stakeholders of how communities have reorganized after the physical separation created by the conflict.


Niger | Ukraine