Displacement Urbanism

A podcast by Dr Romola Sanyal, Associate Professor of Urban Geography at LSE.

About the series

This podcast engages with a range of speakers who have both experienced being refugees as well as been involved in the management and study of refugees.

We journey through different stories of how cities and refugees come to shape each other, how different actors think about the question of urbanism and displacement and why these issues are important to one another. 

This podcast forms part of Romola Sanyal's research projectDisplacement Urbanism: Forced migrants, humanitarianism and urbanisation in the Global South

Listen via the links below or on Spotify.

Episode 1

Urban Expansions through Displacements

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Ahmed Zeyad and Romola Sanyal. 2023.

Urban Expansions through Displacements with Ahmed Zeyad, urbanist at the Mayor’s Office in Greater Amman Municipality (GAM), Amman, Jordan.

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Host: Dr Romola Sanyal


Episode 2

Urban Experiments: Accommodation and Integration through Housing Asylum Seekers

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Meriç Özgüneş and Romola Sanyal. 2023. 

Urban Experiments: Accommodation and Integration through Housing Asylum Seekers with Meriç Özgüneş, Programme Coordinator, Social Resilience & Inclusion Department, Thessaloniki, Greece. 

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Host: Dr Romola Sanyal


Episode 3

Changing the Narrative on Urban Refugees

romola and lucy
Romola Sanyal and Lucy Earle. 2023. 

Changing the Narrative on Urban Refugees with Lucy Earle, Interim Director of the Human Settlements Group at the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), UK.

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Host: Dr Romola Sanyal


Episode 4

Refugees Remaking Cities

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Manas Ray and Romola Sanyal. 2023. 

Manas Ray, Professor at the School of Liberal Studies, University of Petroleum and Energy Studies (UPES), Dehradun, India

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The Volatile Seventies: A Memoir of the Naxalbari Uprising in Calcutta and the Bangladesh War. Read the article

Host: Dr Romola Sanyal


Episode 5

The City in the Camp

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Ayham Dalal and Romola Sanyal. 2023.  

Ayham Dalal, Lecturer at the Department of Architecture and Urban Design at the German University in Cairo, Egypt.

From Shelters to Dwellings  

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Host: Dr Romola Sanyal 


Epsiode 6

Politics of the Displaced City

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Loren B Landau and Romola Sanyal. 2023. 

Loren B Landau is Professor of Migration and Development at the University of Oxford and Research Professor at the University of the Witwatersrand’s African Centre for Migration & Society

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Host: Dr Romola Sanyal



Episode 7

A City made through Displacement (in English and Urdu)

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Sibth ul Hassan, Romola Sanyal and Sobia Ahmad Kaker. 2023. 

Despite being a planned city, Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan has historically been, and continues to be, a city shaped through displacement. Join Sibth ul Hasan (Philipps University Marburg, Germany, Emancipatory Rural Politics Initiative (ERPI), South Asia Collective), Sobia Ahmed (University of Essex, UK), and Romola Sanyal (LSE) in exploring the politics of evictions and resistance in Islamabad. 

Sibth ul Hassan is a PhD ​student at the Center for Conflict Studies, Philipps University Marburg, Germany. He’s been associated with the Awami Workers Party and the All Pakistan Alliance for Katchi Abadis and is involved with the Emancipatory Rural Politics Initiative (ERPI), South Asia Collective. 

Sobia Ahmad Kaker is a Lecturer at the Department of Sociology, University of Essex. She is a member of the advisory board at Karachi Urban Lab (Pakistan). Sobia is an interdisciplinary urban studies scholar whose research focuses on the 'lived’ experiences of insecurity and uncertainty in global south cities. 

Listen here

Host: Dr Romola Sanyal


Episode 8

Dispersal Cities: Accommodating Asylum Seekers in Britain

darling and sanyal
Jonathan Darling and Romola Sanyal. 2023

Asylum seekers are being dispersed across Britain with significant implications for their housing, wellbeing and rights. It also impacts different local authorities into whose jurisdictions this process unfolds. Join Jonathan Darling (Durham University, UK) and Romola Sanyal (LSE) for an exploration of this and its impacts on urbanisation in the UK. 

Jonathan Darling is Professor in Human Geography at Durham University. His research focuses on the spatial politics of asylum, sanctuary and solidarity movements, and the urban dynamics of forced migration. He’s worked in this field for over 15 years undertaking research examining systems of refugee support, solidarity initiatives and the role of urban green space on integration.

His most recent book, Systems of Suffering: Dispersal and the Denial of Asylum, published by Pluto Press, explores the UK’s system of housing and support for asylum seekers and refugees.

Listen here.

Host: Dr Romola Sanyal  


Episode 9

Urban Transformations in India: A Displacement Lens


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Sandeep Chachra and Romola Sanyal. 

Indian cities have been wrought through displacement - through migration of people into cities, the displacement of people due to urban development, poverty and homelessness. Join Sandeep Chachra (Action Aid, India) and Romola Sanyal (LSE) in their exploration of this topic.

Sandeep Chachra is a social anthropologist and a human rights and justice defender. With over three decades of experience in social development, he is currently the Executive Director of ActionAid Association in India.

Sandeep is the Managing Editor of Agrarian South: Journal of Political Economy, a founding member of Global University for Sustainability, Agrarian South Network and part of the World Forum of Alternatives. Sandeep has also twice Co-Chaired the World Urban Campaign of UN- HABITAT. He actively writes articles and participates in media and public debates. 

Listen here

Host: Dr Romola Sanyal

Episode 10

The Artistry of Migrant Women’s Voices: humanising displacement through text and music

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Caroline Wanjiku Kihato.

In this podcast, Romola Sanyal and Caroline Wanjiku Kihato discuss how migrant women from different parts of the African continent 'make homes' in South Africa, and the kinds of challenges that they face in doing so. They talk about the process of doing research, but also turning that into art, and the politics of representing these narratives in the Venice Biennale. 

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Migrant Women of Johannesburg: Life in an in-between City (Palgrave Macmillan & Wits University Press) 

Caroline's collaborative installation, You Will Find Your People Here, is featured at the Venice Biennale that runs from 20 May to 26 November, 2023.

Host: Dr Romola Sanyal

Episode 11

What is urban about Displacement? A Global View 

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Dyfed Aubrey. 

In this podcast, Romola and Dyfed Aubrey discuss the urbanisation of forced displacement. They talk about the overlaps between humanitarian work and urban development, the ongoing and future challenges for cities, international agencies and NGOs as displaced people increasingly turn towards urban places. 

Dyfed Aubrey is an Inter-Regional Advisor at UN-Habitat and provides technical and policy advice on a broad range of urban issues including forced displacement in cities. He also coordinates UN-Habitat’s global flagship initiative, SDG Cities.

Listen here

Host: Dr Romola Sanyal


Episode 12

Eviction and Urbanisation: A View from Recife

In this podcast, Romola Sanyal speaks to Flavio de Souza, Professor at the Federal University of Pernambuco, about the history and ongoing struggles of the urban poor for housing in the city. They discuss the politics of evictions and protests and what the possible futures are for housing the poor in the city. 

Listen here

Host: Dr Romola Sanyal


Episode 13

The many faces of displacement and the social cost to cities: A view from Greece

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Lefteris Papagianakis.

In this episode, Romola Sanyal speaks with Lefteris Papagianakis, Director of the Greek Council for Refugees about the new and emerging challenges in Greece- from climate change induced floods and internal displacement in Greece to the Golden Visa programme and AirBnB. We discuss how these different issues come together to make finding urban solutions to displacement increasingly difficult. 

Listen here

Host: Dr Romola Sanyal 


Episode 14

Internal Displacement, urbanisation, food futures: Reflections on evolving global challenges

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Isis Nunez Ferrera.

In this podcast Romola talks to Dr. Isis Nunez Ferrera, who is currently the urban lead in the World Food Programme. In this broad conversation, we look at her previous experience working with displaced communities across the world and reflect on the challenges internally displaced persons face in Central America and sub-Saharan Africa. The podcast also explores the different dynamics of displacement including the role of food and what we should be thinking about as we seek to research and respond to these issues.  

Listen here

Host: Dr Romola Sanyal


Episode 15

Settler colonialism, Planning and Urban Displacement

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Nura Al Khalili and Muna Dajani.

In this podcast Dr Romola Sanyal talks to Dr Nura Al Khalili and Dr Muna Dajani about the ways in which settler colonialism and displacement shape territory, urban space and social relations amongst Palestinians in Israel-Palestine. 

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Host: Dr Romola Sanyal


Episode 16

Practices and Politics of Data Collection for Urban Displacement

ida and synne
Ida Lien and Synne Bergby.

Dr Romola Sanyal talks to Ida Lien and Synne Bergby about the practices and politics of data collection for humanitarian crises. 

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Host: Dr Romola Sanyal


Episode 17

Displacement and the infrastructures of care

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Catalina Ortiz.  

In this podcast, Romola talks to Catalina Ortiz from the DPU, UCL and Director of UCL's Urban Lab about her work on displacement in Colombia, particularly in the making of the neighbourhood of Moravia and how we can think about care as we analyse displacement.

Catalina Ortiz is Associate Professor at the Development Planning Unit and the Director of University College London’s Urban Lab.

Listen here

Host: Dr Romola Sanyal



Music credit: © Pushan Kripalani 15/9/2020