Research Topic

Resilient Cities and Migration Governance

About this Research Topic

In migration studies most of the recent literature mentions pressures and constraints that cities must face in building their migration governance, but very few try to theorize an approach to better grasp these challenges. Resilience is a framework that may help to analyze how cities empower and construct their autonomous agency in an adverse environment, combining public management, governance, and claim-making. Taken broadly, the Word Bank (2015) describes resilience as the ability of a system to adapt to a variety of changing conditions and to withstand shocks while maintaining its essential functions. Urban resilience is about developing urban capacities and learning to govern with the spectrum of uncertainties, hazards and risks related to multiple migration-related social stresses. The overall purpose of this Special Issue is to explore how we can draw an empirically informed resilient theory that may inform future research and policy paths of resilient cities and migration governance.

Resilient cities often look for innovative ways to face pressure in their legal, institutional and policy infrastructures. This Call is particularly interested in proposals examining how resilience acts as a catalyst of policy innovation and urban transformation. Current City agency is pushing towards resilient migration governance from different avenues: from upper level of governance, from the same urban context, from the international and national policies, often obsessed by national security. An urban resilient governance approach is particularly aiming at exploring how governance’s constraints system invites towards strategic and holistic thinking for migration governance. This multidirectional pressure system determines often decision-making and policy official’s behavior, and shape definitively the future of migration governance.

One of the increasing resilient strategies showing cities agency-capacity and their autonomy-building is when we focus on refugees, undocumented migrants, unaccompanied children, vulnerable women. Namely, extreme human situations often produced by external factors, such as the state and/or EU legislation/policies, and now aggravated by the pandemic shock. An urban resilient governance approach is particularly aiming at exploring how governance’s constraints system increases multi-level governance tensions/cooperation, multi-scalar alliances with civil society organizations networks and translocal ties with other cities within/outside urban areas. This Call will accept proposals empirically constructed and theoretically motivated. We invite future contributors looking at policy strategies affecting norms, services, structures and regulations, and the place of city agency within a regional, national and global context.

The framework of this call is part of the research award obtained by R. Zapata-Barrero in the Advanced Research Collaborative (ARC) Distinguished Visiting Scholarship at The Graduate Center of CUNY University (New York) for six months (January 2022-June 2022).


Keywords: Resilience, Cities, Migration, Governance, Policies


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

In migration studies most of the recent literature mentions pressures and constraints that cities must face in building their migration governance, but very few try to theorize an approach to better grasp these challenges. Resilience is a framework that may help to analyze how cities empower and construct their autonomous agency in an adverse environment, combining public management, governance, and claim-making. Taken broadly, the Word Bank (2015) describes resilience as the ability of a system to adapt to a variety of changing conditions and to withstand shocks while maintaining its essential functions. Urban resilience is about developing urban capacities and learning to govern with the spectrum of uncertainties, hazards and risks related to multiple migration-related social stresses. The overall purpose of this Special Issue is to explore how we can draw an empirically informed resilient theory that may inform future research and policy paths of resilient cities and migration governance.

Resilient cities often look for innovative ways to face pressure in their legal, institutional and policy infrastructures. This Call is particularly interested in proposals examining how resilience acts as a catalyst of policy innovation and urban transformation. Current City agency is pushing towards resilient migration governance from different avenues: from upper level of governance, from the same urban context, from the international and national policies, often obsessed by national security. An urban resilient governance approach is particularly aiming at exploring how governance’s constraints system invites towards strategic and holistic thinking for migration governance. This multidirectional pressure system determines often decision-making and policy official’s behavior, and shape definitively the future of migration governance.

One of the increasing resilient strategies showing cities agency-capacity and their autonomy-building is when we focus on refugees, undocumented migrants, unaccompanied children, vulnerable women. Namely, extreme human situations often produced by external factors, such as the state and/or EU legislation/policies, and now aggravated by the pandemic shock. An urban resilient governance approach is particularly aiming at exploring how governance’s constraints system increases multi-level governance tensions/cooperation, multi-scalar alliances with civil society organizations networks and translocal ties with other cities within/outside urban areas. This Call will accept proposals empirically constructed and theoretically motivated. We invite future contributors looking at policy strategies affecting norms, services, structures and regulations, and the place of city agency within a regional, national and global context.

The framework of this call is part of the research award obtained by R. Zapata-Barrero in the Advanced Research Collaborative (ARC) Distinguished Visiting Scholarship at The Graduate Center of CUNY University (New York) for six months (January 2022-June 2022).


Keywords: Resilience, Cities, Migration, Governance, Policies


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

29 November 2021 Abstract
28 February 2022 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

29 November 2021 Abstract
28 February 2022 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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