Refugee and Labour Movements in Sub-Saharan Africa: Shelter Provision and Settlement Policies for Refugees

By Jonathan Baker; Roger Zetter | Go to book overview

4.
Retooling Planning Practice for Refugees-
Formal Sector Alternatives to Encampment

4.1 The Need for Alternatives
Although the ideas discussed in the previous section may lead to a more appropriate praxis for camp planning, it is perhaps a reflection of the resistance to planning for durable refugee settlement that there has been remarkably little innovation of spatial planning policies and options for the needs of refugees, beyond encampment. Yet there is now a conjuncture of factors which demand an urgent review of potential options and the investigation new approaches. Amongst the factors creating the impetus for a radical review are the following: the evident limitations of current shelter and settlement policies discussed in the previous sections; the enforced deployment of a variety of unorthodox responses to enormous displacement in the republics of former Yugoslavia; the evolving conditions of mass population movements in other parts of the eastern Europe—notably the former Soviet Union; and the need to address the growing pressures on and specialist needs of refugees for housing in resettlement countries in western Europe.Whilst this section of the review is not exclusively confined to host countries in south-eastern and eastern Europe, the discussion and proposals are likely to be more relevant to these countries than those in the ‘south’ where rural to rural flows are more prevalent.The countries and regions of Europe now experiencing mass influxes of refugees confront conditions which contrast substantially with the experience gained in refugee shelter provision and settlement planning in the ‘south’ during the last two decades or so. There are significant social, economic and institutional variations between these regions, of course. Nevertheless, a set of generic conditions also obtains which, taken together, governs the scope and options for shelter and settlement provision to a far higher degree then has been the case in the ‘south’. These include, depending on the case, some or all of the following factors:
— generally higher levels of urbanisation with the implications this has for housing standards, building technologies and production methods, land availability, locational options;
— urban-industrial economies (albeit small scale in some cases), and thus a higher proportion of the host and, potentially, the refugee population in the urban sector, with implications for survival strategies, employment options, locational decisions, construction technologies and contracting activity;
— the existence (if not the operation) of planning institutions, plans and codes of control over land use and development which are likely to govern standards and locations for refugee shelter provision as well as providing the instruments for the potential coordination and implementation of such strategies;

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