The Ukrainian refugee crisis impact on European cities demands urgent policy interventions advises Dr Jonathan Rock Rokem, a Human Geographer in the School of Anthropology and Conservation. Dr Rokem is Principal Investigator of a multi-national research project titled MAPURBAN, which aims to improve migrants’ access to urban resources such as public transport and civic and cultural institutions. He said:
‘The MAPURBAN project’s research findings highlight the importance of newly arrived migrants’ access and mobility to public urban resources such as civic institutions and community infrastructures in European cities.
‘An increased number of Ukrainian refugees and asylum seekers are on the move Westwards as the Russian invasion intensifies. With the geopolitical conditions changing rapidly as a consequence of Russian aggression and increased violence towards Ukrainian cities. The lessons learned from major European cities during the 2015 Syrian refugee crisis demand to step up the current urgent policy interventions. As a consequence, access to public facilities and processes of social integration for newly arrived migrants are no longer negotiated between an assumed minority and a majority, but within an increasingly super-diverse urban society.
‘Arrival infrastructures do not only play a role in arrival cities and neighbourhoods but also in under-served urban peripheries with a large number of migrants. Access to public transport networks, for example, is one of the many ways by which mobility can impact on issues such as segmenting populations, linking populations and creating opportunities for public encounter. There is an urgent need to promote a more inclusive policy agenda which takes into account changing global urban geopolitical realities. The current Ukrainian refugee crisis places larger cities at the receiving forefront of a growing humanitarian crisis. Urgent funding from national and local authorities must be made available to enable access and mobility to public infrastructures aiding the refugee emergency in European cities.’
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