World Economic Forum (WEF) released its 2017 report Migration and Its Impact on Cities to have guidelines for handling migration. Studying India in this report, architects should focus on the report’s basic structure for a better understanding of the WEF’s intents and priorities (WEF, 2017). The second consideration is the importance of architecture and India compared to other topics and the rest of the world with migration in the WEF views over the complex global world (ibid.). Lastly, an opinion in conclusion, out of all the structures and approaches from WEF, will demonstrate different strategies with India.    

Basic Structure of the Report | World Economic Forum

Architects must look at the basic structure of the migration report. The first is the foreword by executives and executive summary for summary and overall view to simplifying the report’s intent. The first part is the definition of migration, including international migration and Internal Migration relative to India, with defined factors like economic, social-political, and ecological factors (WEF, 2017). WEF considers the world trends of migration to mark changes, policies, and issues on migration (ibid.). More importantly, WEF lists urban infrastructure and services impacted by migration: Housing, Education and employment, Health, Transportation, Utilities, Sanitation and waste, Social Cohesion and community and Safety and Security. The second part of the report looks at each city case study in North America, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, Asia, Oceania, and Sub-Saharan Africa. The description explains significant facts for each city and outlines the problems and solutions with lessons learned (ibid.). In the end, the summary takes the city description, the list of urban infrastructure and services and the lessons about each city in around ½ page (ibid.).

The two parts before the conclusion suggest foundational implementations in every city (ibid.). The first emphasises the challenges and opportunities of each topic of urban infrastructure and services-specific solutions and practices programs to tackle some challenges (ibid.). The second part is to have each implementation with specific tools, goals, and practice programs to prepare optimistic, stable, and good practices on migration (ibid.). The conclusion is to have a more structured, holistic approach for each city. The overall theme of the report is to emphasise the solutions that guide experts in urban planning, civil engineering, and architects to know about the city structure (ibid.). Architects must know each city’s holistic approach to WEF (ibid.).   

India’s Internal and International Migration

Moving to India’s migration, challenges and facts that India migration existed. Global international and internal migration exists in India (ibid., Image  1-2.) There is international and internal migration throughout India (ibid.). More notably, India has been “growing 4.5% annually with 5-6 million migrants with State of Bihar of 3.4 children/woman with the GDP per capita of around $520/year and 1.6 children/woman in Kerela four time the GDP per capita of $2350(ibid.). Furthermore, it indicates India with ¼ of the 100 fastest growing cities with massive rural-to-urban migration with variation in some cities over 55% and others 15% (ibid.). For Internal migration, the policy has been lowered (ibid. Image  3-4).

Report in Focus- Migration and Its Impact on Cities by World Economic Forum (India) - Sheet1
International Organization for Migration, 2015 Global Diversification of Migration Destinations_©International Organization for Migration)
Report in Focus- Migration and Its Impact on Cities by World Economic Forum (India) - Sheet2
World Economic Forum-Global Routes shows the significance of migration from India to the rest of the world to travel for opportunities (Adams, 2015) _International Global Routes_©Paul Adams
Report in Focus- Migration and Its Impact on Cities by World Economic Forum (India) - Sheet3
World Economic Forum-The internal migration in India Migration Policy, 2014, 3_International Global Routes_©Migration Policy Institute
Internal Migration Policy in India is loosened more for more internal migration (United Nations, 2013, 4_Internal Migration Policy on migration from rural to urban areas_©United Nations).

India’s Sample Cities and Implementation

A few cities outside India, particularly in Oceania and North America, have very few descriptions mentioning Indian migrants. Within India, there are challenges to settling with only two sample cities (WEF, 2017). The first city, Pune, had 3.1 million people (according to the Census 2011) with an unemployment rate of 3.29% and a 2.73% poverty ratio (ibid.). This city is attractive because with the 1960s, industrialisation and Information Technology demand middle to higher-income groups for housing but make affordable housing challenges (ibid.). Education and employment have some problems, but the number of clinics, roads for transit, and waste management and planning need the most attention(ibid.). The lessons learned are to try to solve some problems with solutions for long-term internal migration(ibid.).

The second city, Surat (with a population of 5.33 million and around 326.51 km2), is known for its large diamond cutting and polishing, extensive artificial fabric, and petroleum industries. These industries can afford the city with the lowest unemployment of 1.5% (ibid.). It has the fastest growth of 55-60% over the last four decades, with 58% internal migrants from other states(ibid.). There is education with the highest at 88%, but health is highly vulnerable to malaria with 300 doctors and municipal health centres where Orissa is the highest with HIV/AIDS (ibid.). Plus, there are still supplied with 95% of the city with challenges of leakage and inadequate transit and needed to the urban planning(ibid.). Despite being the city to be, lessons are learned from the growing city hub for migration to resolve the similar issue, though richer (ibid.). Both cities sample similar challenges with different approaches to resolving the problem. Some programs exist to solve ongoing issues in some Indian cities (ibid.).

Opinion on WEF Report | World Economic Forum

The guideline is a start for architects to read about migration. Each city’s urban planning and housing aspect contributes an enormous architectural understanding of resolving the issues. However, the emphasis on Indians in migration has very few samples to discover the complexity of each Indian city. However, international travel and some Indian cities do not have enough information to capture the complexity of internal and international migration. There are cities around the world that require attention. But, since ¼ of the top 100 cities are there, there needs to have more emphasis for architects to know the migration into the growing cities. WEF should emphasise more about India more in both International and Internal migration to note its high importance rather than missing some information about the large sum of cities.  


Adams, P. (2015). Migration: Are more people on the move than ever before?, BBC News. Available at: com/news/world-32912867 

International Organization for Migration (2015). World Migration Report 2015: Migrants and Cities: New Partnerships to Manage Mobility.

Migration Policy Institute (2014). “Internal Labor Migration in India Raises Integration Challenges for Migrants”.  Available at:

United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) Population Division, Policy Section, [United Nations] (2013). World Population Policies 2013. Available at: WPP2013/wpp2013.pdf#zoom=100

World Economic Forum (2017) Migration and its impact on cities, World Economic Forum. Available at: (Accessed: April 24, 2023). 


Joshua Yae Joon Park wrote about urban planning and architectural articles ranging from urban design to missing middle. After graduating from the University of Waterloo and the University of Western Ontario, Joshua has experience in urban design and planning projects in Southern Ontario.