Urban Migration refers to the population shifting from Rural to Urban areas in a particular place. It is responsible for the corresponding decreases in the proportion of living in rural areas and in how societies adap  t to the change. It is a process predominantly by which towns and cities are formed and have become larger and still growing as more people begin to live and work in the major areas. Migration is a natural human phenomenon but is not something organizations in a completely built environment are so much focused on.

Can planning and design mitigate the effects of Urban Migration - Sheet1
The growing Migration_©panda.org

Increasing Migration | Urban Migration

Research from the World Bank on Migration and development initiative has identified that one out of every seven people in the World’s population is a migrant. Understanding that cities have always been a priority destination for migrants, offering them an opportunity and a fresh chance for an extremely exciting and new start. The emerging factors like the global loss of the habitat caused by the changing climate are also spurring and supporting ever greater migration around the world, increasing a rapid need for provisional accommodation.

In the year 2015, a study showed that over a million people have been registered for new homes from migrants within the country and also from various countries abroad, trying to escape from conflicts and looking for better living conditions. The arrival of large migrants has increased the need for appropriate design planning across almost all the major cities in the World and the growing cities as well. City Planning can anticipate the societal change generated from migration to create cities and their population and regulate the city through remarkable changes.

Migrants and Cities

Can planning and design mitigate the effects of Urban Migration - Sheet2
The migrants and the cities_©youthkiawaaz.com

Migrants continue to get drawn to the cities in search of a better life, greater job opportunities and ease of access to the urban infrastructure and services. A recent study also showcases that the population growth in metropolitan areas is often higher than in the national average area due to migration.

Cities have addressed the immediate need of migrants and responded to major challenges related to their integration into society. The presence of migration also accelerates the chance of integration. The projected increase in both migration and urbanization indicates that the city will continue to play an integral role in human mobility in the upcoming decades.

Increasing pressure on Infrastructure & Services

The increased migration demands upgraded Services & infrastructure in the designated city. This is particularly observable concerning healthcare, utilities, housing, water and sanitation, waste, education and employment. Migration further promotes pressure on the services and infrastructure accounted for in the Urban planning & designing process.

The requirement for Design & Planning

Design & planning_©en.wikipedia.org

Well, we often believe migrants consume benefits & resources that are meant to meet their needs. This leads to excluding the migrants from urban infrastructure and services such as health, housing and environment. This process of alienation can result in the formation of segregated community clusters, which over time may become breeding grounds for the radicalization of migrants, xenophobic violence and leading hate crimes which makes it difficult for the new group of communities to enter & survive in the city. On the other side of the coin, if urban planning & designing is integrated, different results can be possible.

The help of recognition of the needs of natives & migrants collectively can help align the cities’ focus towards inclusively addressing the challenges faced by all the communities. Cities that include the need for recognition can engage active participation from all communities and over time can help create a feeling of belonging among migrants who may also find it better to invest their time and efforts into improving their opportunities & skills and their quality of life.

Integration of Migrants | Urban Migration

The successful integration of migrants depends on five key influences listed below:

Perception–The shift in the perception of migrants from being problematic to economic developers needs to be changed & considered.

Community Engagement- Integration seems to be a two-way process. Cities need to generate strategies that promote the active participation of communities in decision-making and provide them with political rights. On the other hand, the communities provide engagement to the city.

Policy reforms- City agencies can help and promote identify relevant policies for integration and tailor policies to overcome the issues of services and urban infrastructure and implement such policies and monitor and evaluate the results.

Urban Planning- For most cities, migration usually seems like an afterthought instead of an integral part of the urban planning process. While most migration-related initiatives choose to continue to focus on inclusive integration, the effect of migration on services and urban infrastructure is often unpresented, affecting the city’s overall social and economic development. Hence, there is a greater incentive to build migration-related issues into the urban planning process.

Leadership- City’s leadership needs to be demonstrated responsibly in order to meet the needs of migrants. An acknowledged and proactive approach needs to be taken to integrate the migrants.


  1. The Guardian. 2022. Redesigning cities: could urban planning be a catalyst for development?. [online] Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2013/aug/23/climate-change-urban-planning-cities

[Accessed 3 July 2022].

  1. World Economic Forum. 2022. We need to get better at integrating migrants into our cities. Here’s how. [online] Available at: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/10/we-need-to-get-better-at-integrating-migrants-into-our-cities-here-s-how/

[Accessed 4 July 2022].


Disha is an architecture graduate from Nagpur University, 2021. Being an avid traveler, she has always tried to connect the city’s art & culture with architecture. She is a keen learner & an extremely creative individual who always seeks opportunities to enhance knowledge & experience in the field of architecture.