The future of global settlement is in densified urban spaces. In the next few decades, urban inhabitants are expected to increase to at least 60 per cent of the global population, and the increasing differentiation in modern societies is most pronounced in cities, especially in urban areas with a highly mobile population. Cities in the Global South are expected to experience the highest rates of urban growth. In Africa, mobility is a significant contributor to urbanisation, especially internal rural-urban and South-South movements (UN-Habitat 2014).
While cities are engines of production, innovation, and growth, urbanisation can also have a negative impact on local and global pollution, equality, and health. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development commits to making "cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable (Goal 11)". The global urban agenda, including Habitat III (Quito, October 2016), encourages planning for the transition to sustainable cities. Thus, a key question for our future is: how can cities develop such that their mobility-induced growth does not negatively impact the health and wellbeing of the population, increase economic and ecological risks, or raise the likelihood of discrimination and conflict?
The interdisciplinary project "Welcoming Neighbourhoods: Sustainable Migration in North and West African Cities" seeks to understand the dynamics of inclusion and exclusion dynamics among mobile people (internal and external migrants, circular migrants, commuters) in specific neighbourhoods characterised by diversity (in terms of the life histories, and particularly the mobility experiences, of the people who live there) and their contribution to social, economic, and cultural innovation.
The research project is a collaborative initiative between the University of Geneva, University of Applied Science of Social Work in Geneva, University of Applied Science of Social Work in Ticino and University of Applied Science of Social Work in Lucerne, Université Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdallah, Université Pelforo Gon Coulibaly de Korhogo, Université Gaston Berger de Saint-Louis, Université Amadou Mahtar Mbow, Centre Suisse de Recherches Scientifiques en Côte d’Ivoire, Université Cheikh Anta Diop (UCAD), Addis Ababa University (AAU), Center for Population Studies.