Migration, temporary settlement and new urbanisms in Africa

Our research

Focus: study of the co-relations between migration, settlement and development

This research focuses on the under-developed discussion about temporary versus permanent migration, and its link to temporary and permanent settlement and residency in different types of human agglomerations. The study researches temporary migration and settlement in developing countries and how, in specific cases, they both extend in time and become permanent, creating unforeseen new urbanisms.

The research analyses how migrants that moved to temporary destinations ended up staying, unexpectedly transforming what were initially provisional agglomerations into new towns and new urban life. It analyses different types of trajectories and cases, motivated by and within different dynamics, involving different types of migrant actors and policy stakeholders to build typologies of existing situations and needed responses. It aims at identifying categories of cases, classifying them and generating a comprehensive grouping of different case types.

This is a post-facto retrospective study in the sense that it surveys the context, conditions, and factors that have led to the structuring of this type of human agglomerations.

Research questions

  • causes and conditions for permanent settlement
  • the dynamics and features of these transformations
  • the responses needed for improved livelihoods and integration of migrant populations in each specific type of settlement

Where and which type of temporary settlements

Places that, over the years, have become consolidated towns and urban neighborhoods – meaning, that they have varyingly became less makeshift, increasingly infrastructured, with more dwellers living permanently in them, and where daily life is tendentially urban.

  • former displaced/refugee camps
  • new towns built from boomtowns
  • consolidated/upgraded slums
In geographically adjacent Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Zambia