A photo from the Airbel Impact Lab archive

Urban refugee research and social capital: a roundtable report and literature review

On November 15, 2012, the IRC and the Women’s Refugee Commission convened a roundtable discussion on urban refugee research. Four presenters shared their research around protection strategies, profiling, livelihood, and advocacy for refugees in urban areas. During the discussions among the practitioners, policymakers, and researchers, critical gaps regarding urban refugee programming and research were identified.

In brief, seven main themes emerged:

  1. Challenges for programming in urban environments;
  2. Urban mindset;
  3. Advocacy;
  4. Data for programming;
  5. Livelihoods;
  6. Role of private sector and technology; and
  7. Communities, social capital, and networks.

The issue of urban refugee communities and social networks, widely discussed at the roundtable, was selected as the theme for the literature review because of its unexploited potential for improving programming with urban refugees.


  • Roundtable Report and Literature Review