Cities and Populations (2012-2015)

How urban and demographic transitions create conditions for peace and conflict

Over half the world’s population now lives in cities. By 2050 this number will reach almost 70 percent. This process of urbanization and the accompanying changes to population structure and composition are altering socio-economic and political relations in important ways. While generating considerable opportunities, these transitions can also create significant challenges. Focusing on the city as a site, and urbanisation and population change as processes, the Cities and Populations research group at PRIO seeks to understand how these places and processes can affect livelihoods of citizens, shape social, economic, and political outcomes, and create conditions for peace and conflict.

The Cities and Populations research group takes a multi-disciplinary perspective, deliberately engaging researchers using both qualitative and quantitative approaches.

Select research themes explore:

  • How political institutions and violence are interrelated in urban areas
  • How armed conflict affects demographic outcomes, such as maternal health
  • How urbanization and climate change may affect inclusion and security in Indian cities.

It is vital that an understanding of the dynamics of urbanization and population change is incorporated into future peace research. While civil wars are on the decline, interpersonal and criminal violence in cites has been increasing. Similarly, demographic changes can alter social relations in cities, and displacement into urban areas due to conflict or environmental degradation may challenge inclusion and stability. Despite these challenges, cities are places of profound opportunity, and it is necessary to gain a deeper understanding of how individuals and governments negotiate risks and opportunities in order to work towards a secure urban future.

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