The Displacement, Placemaking and Wellbeing in the City (DWELL) project will contribute to our growing understanding of the structures, dynamics and processes through which people who are enduringly displaced succeed or fail to become part of European and Indian cities.
Globally, forced displacement levels are hitting a record modern-day high. Protracted displacement is now chiefly an urban affair. The UN Sustainable Development Goal 11 sets out the global ambition for inclusive, sustainable and secure cities, and the New Urban Agenda (2016) explicitly calls for inclusion of urban refugees within existing city structures. Yet, India and European cities’ efforts to manage inflows often face populist backlashes.
Greater understanding is hence needed of the ways in which people succeed or fail to make urban spaces into places of belonging, participation and wellbeing in conditions of scarcity and growing urban inequality. This will require attention to the placemaking processes and practices that structure refugees’ and forced migrants’ political, social and economic citizenship, access to livelihood opportunities, connections with existing communities and, ultimately, to define and achieve a ‘right to the city’.
This project offers new ways of cross-disciplinary thinking, methodological innovation and action. It seeks to break down disciplinary boundaries between the social sciences and humanities; humanitarianism and development; urban planning, architecture and design; and the integration of creative and engaged research methods that better interrogate and allow for the expression of a wide range of knowledge and experiences. The study will provide important knowledge for policy-makers at all levels of urban governance, as well as in development agencies and NGO/CSOs, about what roles they can play to support (and not to impede) greater equity, reduced inequalities and wellbeing in cities. Finally, the project will actively seek to engage and inform the general public in India and Europe through targeted media activities and public exhibitions.