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Humanitarian response to urban crises: a review of area-based approaches

Elizabeth Parker, Victoria Maynard

Book/Report, 28 pages

In recent years there has been increasing interest in area-based approaches among humanitarian actors responding to urban crises. Through analysis of case studies, as well as available policy literature, this paper proposes that, in an urban context, area-based approaches have three defining characteristics: they are geographically targeted, and adopt a multi-sectoral, participatory approach.
Area-based approaches are neither ‘good’ nor ‘bad’; their positive and negative effects depending entirely on the context in which they are conceived, their programme design, the manner of their delivery and the appropriateness of adopting such a strategy. Further research is required to better understand the implications of wide-scale adoption of area-based approaches by the humanitarian community.

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Urban areas are increasingly the sites of humanitarian crises, from natural disasters to conflict and displacement. Through a programme of research, documenting and learning from experience and development of tools and approaches, IIED is working to build the knowledge and capacity to respond of humanitarian actors working in urban areas, and of urban actors facing humanitarian crises.

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Urban Crises Learning Fund