Melissa Weihmayer

Melissa Weihmayer

PhD candidate in Regional and Urban Planning Studies

Department of Geography and Environment

Connect with me

French, German, Spanish
Key Expertise
Migration, Displacement, Urban crisis response

About me

When people have been displaced, they are more likely than ever to look for refuge in cities. After a few years working on issues of internal displacement, I have come to the LSE to understand how cities work so I can contribute to stronger evidence and longer-term responses to urban displacement.

My PhD research, based in the Geography department's Regional and Urban Planning Studies program, focuses on responses to displacement and migration in cities. I am interested in how evidence informs local government decision-making and the potential that data-gathering processes have for exacerbating or mitigating inequalities between displaced populations and their non-displaced neighbors. My research is supported by the International Inequalities Institute.

My interdisciplinary approach stems from a Bachelors in Anthropology and German from the University of Chicago and a Masters in International Relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. I have been applying a background in anthropological theory, development economics and conflict resolution to migration and displacement issues in my professional work in the legal and humanitarian fields since 2010, most recently in Geneva, Switzerland with the Joint IDP Profiling Service (JIPS).

Research interests:

  • Migration and displacement policy and trends, especially for internal displacement
  • Humanitarian responses to urban crises
  • Urban responses to humanitarian crises
  • Humanitarian data collection and information management
  • Applying mixed methods approaches in migration and displacement research
  • Evidence-based decision-making

Conference papers and publications:

Baal, Natalia, Laura Kivelä, and Melissa Weihmayer. 2018. “Improving IDP Data to Help Implement the Guiding Principles.” Forced Migration Review, Twenty Years of the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, FMR 59 (October). 


Dr Romola Sanyal
Dr Nancy Holman

Expertise Details

Data and evidence in the humanitarian sector; Internally displaced populations (IDPs)