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Global Urbanism Research Group

Urban conflict and violence

In a predominantly urban world, increasing levels of violence in cities are a pressing development concern.

Protestors at a barbed-wire fence
In a predominantly urban world, increasing levels of violence in cities is a growing concern.

Alongside high profile drug- and gang-related violence, everyday economic and social violence and conflict profoundly affect poor urban communities.

Identifying causal factors which tip urban conflict into violence is therefore critical for the development of urban policies to reduce insecurity. Such factors may relate to political exclusion, gender and age, as well as poverty, inequality, and scarce resources such as land.

Our research includes:

  • A Hallsworth funded project on ‘Land tenure, conflict and violence in urban Mexico’ which explores the linkages between land tenure and conflict in the context of rising violence in urban Mexico, with a focus on the national policy of land tenure regularisation. The project explores these issues through research in two cities in central Mexico (Xalapa and Queretaro) (2010-2013)
  • An ESRC/DFID international project 'Understanding the Tipping Point of Urban Conflict: Violence, Cities and Poverty Reduction in the Developing World' which explored the validity and policy relevance of the factors conventionally associated with urban violence. The research was undertaken in collaboration with an international team of researchers across four cities in Nairobi, Kenya; Patna, India; Dili, Timor Leste; and Santiago, Chile (Understanding the Tipping Point of Urban Conflict) (2010-2012)

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