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Strangers in the City: Addressing Challenges to the Protection, Housing and Settlement of Refugees


  • Gina Netto


An increasing proportion of refugees worldwide now live in urban spaces, where their rights to adequate shelter, education and employment opportunities must be considered. In the European Union, a number of countries have tightened their immigration policies and adopted dispersal schemes which disperse refugees to urban environments. However, little is known about the circumstances of refugees once they have moved into permanent accommodation in these cities, how they cope and whether they stay or move on. This paper explores the impact of dispersing refugees to urban areas by drawing on a case study of refugees living in Glasgow, a major dispersal site for refugees in the UK. It reveals the diversity and complexity of the unique challenges that refugees face, including within the home and the neighbourhood. Four strands of policy implications flow from this: the need to facilitate refugee identification in urban areas; the importance of ensuring protection from racial harassment; the need for diversified approaches towards tenancy sustainment and the difficulty of predicting the impact of ‘no-choice’ dispersal policies.

Suggested Citation

  • Gina Netto, 2011. "Strangers in the City: Addressing Challenges to the Protection, Housing and Settlement of Refugees," International Journal of Housing Policy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(3), pages 285-303, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:intjhp:v:11:y:2011:i:3:p:285-303
    DOI: 10.1080/14616718.2011.599132

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