SOLICITY: Urban Sanctuary, Migrant Solidarity and Hospitality in Global Perspective

Consensus and Conflict Department

Project coordination: Dr. Elias Steinhilper

Running time April 2021 until March 2028
Status Current project

Project Director: Prof. Dr. Harald Bauder (Toronto Metropolitan University)


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Cities are key sites for understanding migrant integration and refugee protection around the world. Under the "Westphalian" system, nation states typically claim authority over the selection and acceptance of migrants and refugees through visa, immigration, refugee and citizenship policies. However, cities tend to be the places where migrants and refugees integrate into the social fabric of society, where they participate in economic and social life, and where they develop a sense of belonging. In fact, many cities protect and include inhabitants who are denied legal status by nation states, although recent responses to COVID-19 have often undermined such efforts. Although urban initiatives are discernible in different parts of the world, a common urban approach has not been theorized, nor has there been a coordinated cross-continental exchange about local policies and practices. This 7-year partnership brings together academics and stakeholders from the global north and south to explore innovative urban approaches towards inclusion, in particular of those migrants and refugees refused by nation states.


Specific objectives of the partnership include (1) advancing theoretical knowledge and practical understanding related to urban sanctuary, solidarity and hospitality towards vulnerable migrants and refugees in the global north and south; (2) building and enhancing urban capacities to accommodate vulnerable migrants and refugees through international collaboration, networking, and knowledge exchange between researchers, practitioners, and urban policy makers; and (3) developing novel municipal and community-based policy frameworks to facilitate innovative and evidence-based policy making at local and municipal levels for accommodating vulnerable migrants and refugees. The project creates a new formal partnership among an interdisciplinary team of 72 international researchers, partner organizations, and stakeholders from the global north and south. Case studies will be conducted by a team of researchers and their local partners at 4 continental hubs in North America, Africa, Europe and Latin America, creating training opportunities for more than 105 students and emerging scholars from a range of disciplines from the social sciences. Participants will focus on the cross-sectoral co-creation of knowledge and understanding related to the policies and practices of accommodating migrants and refugees, and engage in knowledge mobilization activities. A team of international academics and cross-sectoral partners will help urban decision makers develop innovative policies of migrant and refugee inclusion, while enhancing scholarly knowledge.

Funding: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) (Third-party funding)