Resilient communities, resilient cities?

Digital makings of the city of refuge

This project investigates the role of digital communication in supporting resilient urban communities, especially in response to sudden and/or unwelcome change resulting from refugee arrivals. Most research on digital communication and resilience engages with digital investment for economic growth, urban planning and transparent politics. Yet, urban dwellers’ responses to such initiatives remain largely ignored.

This project aims to fill that gap by examining manifestations of digital citizenship and the uses of communicative possibilities to build diverse, integrated, and inclusive cities after population transformation. This is a comparative, multimethod study.

The primary empirical focus is on three cities that currently experience the shocks of the “refugee crisis”: Athens, Berlin and London. Yet the project also offers a global comparative outlook through additional research in two longstanding cities of refuge: Hong Kong and Los Angeles. Across the 5 cities, the project investigates good digital practices and digital failures to build resilience.  The 18-month study examines urban communities’ resilience through surveys, focus groups, asset mapping, digital storytelling, and public exhibitions.

The study will produce at least 5 high-quality journal publications, alongside public engagement outputs: a digital storytelling platform, public exhibitions in three cities, and a comparative urban digital policy report for local government.

Period: 5 months


Myria Georgiou

Professor Myria Georgiou
Department of Media and Communications, LSE

Myria Georgiou is Professor of Media and Communications in the Department of Media and Communications at LSE. She holds a PhD in Sociology from LSE, an MSc in Journalism from Boston University and a BA in Sociology from Panteion University, Athens. Her research focuses on media and the city; urban technologies and politics of connection; and the ways in which migration and diaspora are politically, culturally and morally constituted in the context of mediation. For more than 20 years she has been conducting and leading cross-national and transurban research across Europe and between British and American cities. She has also worked as a journalist for BBC World Service, Greek press, and the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation.

Personal page

Suzanne Hall

Dr Suzanne Hall
Department of Sociology, LSE

Dr Hall is an urban ethnographer and has practised as an architect in South Africa. She is Director of the Cities Programme and is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology. Her research and teaching interests are foregrounded in everyday expressions of global migration and urban marginalisation, in a context of inequality, discrimination and resistance. She currently focuses on migrant economies and urban multi-culture on high streets across the UK and has led an ESRC award (2015-2017) for a comparative project on ‘Super-diverse Streets: Economies and spaces of urban migration in UK Cities’.

Personal page




Outputs in progress

  • Suspension: Disabling the city of refuge? (Paper under review)

  • Refuge in Austerity: borders, governmentality, and resilience in the UK’ (fourthcoming)

  • Digital archieve of the city of refuge: a web based digital archive - photographic project, storytelling of the City of Refuge and its actors (in progress)