Environment & Urbanization

World leading environmental and urban studies journal

Setting a new research agenda for urban crisis and humanitarian response

Donald Brown, Cassidy Johnson

International Institute for Environment and Development



This briefing identifies key evidence gaps on urban crises and humanitarian responses, given that many international humanitarian actors have found that traditional approaches — often rurally-derived or camp-focused — are ill-suited to urban environments. The briefing then outlines priorities to guide a future research agenda. Broadly, these priorities call for a better understanding of urban processes and systems, and of local actors’ experiences and perceptions. Both of these can inform context-appropriate and inclusive approaches to urban humanitarian response. The authors emphasize the value of communicating evidence in a form that can be used for broader advocacy and public awareness, promoting the need for all actors to develop new approaches and capacities in this increasingly important area.


Available at http://pubs.iied.org/17301IIED.html


Further reading:

Brown, Donald, Camillo Boano, Cassidy Johnson, Janani Vivekananda and Julian Walker (2015), “Urban crises and humanitarian responses: a literature review”, Bartlett Development Planning (DPU) Working Paper, UCL, London, available at www.bartlett.ucl.ac.uk/dpu/publications/dpu-report-1.

Parker, Elizabeth and Victoria Maynard (2015), “Humanitarian response to urban crises: a review of area-based approaches”, Human Settlements working paper, International Institute for Environment and Development, London, 28 pages, available at http://pubs.iied.org/10742IIED.html.

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