UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction


REFRAME: Reframing the paradigm of arrival. Transnational perspectives, governance and policy

'Reframing Arrival infrastructures' aims to reframe the paradigm of forced migrants’ arrival as a policy framework and discursive realm.

Tower blocks

8 February 2024

Within the entangled crisis, in this post-covid, post-Brexit, post-Arab spring context – how do forced migrants from sub-Saharan Africa in the UK or Italy navigate their way through hostile or lack of housing? How do Ukrainian care workers in Italy live the home when this is both a place of work, exploitation and safety? How do Syrian families in London cope with the cost of living crisis, gentrification and eviction? How do migrants and refugees make housing choices in Istanbul, and how do they respond to local governance encouraging refugee presence in specific suburbs?

Challenge being addressed

In Italy, the project will engage with ‘Interstitial spaces of inhabitation: imperfect trajectories in the urban space’, by examining different accommodation/housing including: 

  • Shelters for the unhoused operated by NGOs with limited state support
  • State-led diffused hospitality operated by NGOs
  • Makeshift solutions by refugees with support from activists and NGOs

In the UK, the project will examine ‘Austerity, arrival and dwelling strategies.’ Using the concepts of displaceability, deportability and evictability in relation to arrival regimes, in Hastings and London, the project will explore how ‘home’ and homelessness are lived. The project will also try to decontextualise these notions from common associations with shelter to allow for a wider understanding of different practices of dwelling, the street and territories as a home.

In Turkiye, trajectories of displacement and housing choices of refugees and migrants in response to governmental policies will be explored. We will evaluate individual housing histories, pull and push factors for multiple relocation (e.g., earthquakes, migration policies, cost of housing, kinship networks) and type of house tenancy (from rented to owned property to makeshift solutions). 

Aims and objectives 

The project aims to achieve the following: 

  • Investigate how refugees’ action and agency are shaped by and shape the infrastructure of arrival in different locations
  • Examine specific housing choices and dwelling strategies that occur under conditions of constraint within the humanitarian systems of care
  • Understand how different spaces of refusal or acceptance, care and repair, can be opened up to go beyond binary approaches of power/resistance, or humanitarian myths of self-reliance and resilience

Funding: AHRC and FDG

Project duration: 1 Feb 2024 – 31 Jan 2027

Principal investigator: Dr Giovanna Astolfo 

Co-applicants: Dr Estella Carpi, Professor Camillo Boano, Ms Harriet Allsopp 

For more information, see the UCL News story about the project launch.

Image: TOKI buildings in Esenyurt (Istanbul), August 2022. Photo credits: Estella Carpi.