Migrant Mobility and Access to Public Urban Resources


MAPURBAN will bring to light differences in access to urban resources across the socio-economic and ethnic profile of three major cities. By comparing migrant arrival and settlement in Stockholm, Berlin and London, the project will integrate existing data on spatial inequality and urban segregation, and show how these affect migrant mobility and integration. Taken together, this is argued to have an impact on newly arriving people’s participation in urban society and in expanding their ‘right to the city’. MAPURBAN will utilise interdisciplinary multinational research findings to produce new knowledge that will inform government strategies towards urban migration, re-framing immigrant integration as a multi-scalar (national, urban and local) process that contributes to sustainable urban development. We will consider: Regional public transport mobility and access to urban resources, Urban policies promoting local migrant infrastructure and policy formation, and Neighbourhood interventions undertaking co-creative projects with local communities. By comparing multi-scale social and spatial data across three cities, MAPURBAN will provide new findings on access to urban resources through the application of different participatory tools, to promote equal living conditions, enhance accessibility and mobility, and ultimately, integration, especially for new arrivals to the city.

Summary for the general public

The MAPURBAN project aims to improve migrants’ access to urban resources such as public transport and civic and cultural institutions’ in Stockholm, Berlin and London. The project builds on existing research and urban policy to show how these can improve migrant mobility and accessibility. This will have an impact on newly arriving people’s access and participation in urban society. MAPURBAN will use multinational research findings to produce new knowledge that will inform government strategies towards urban migration, re-framing immigrant integration as a multi-scalar (national, urban and local) process and as an inherent part of inclusive and sustainable urban development.

Project main objectives:

Objective (1) – To conduct a multi-scale analysis of migrant access to urban infrastructures to advance knowledge for inclusive and sustainable planning and policy-making: the super-diversification of major European cities has shifted the political geographies of urban districts and neighbourhoods, their populations coming together or becoming polarised within patterns that are often underexplored.

Objective (2) – To construct a multidisciplinary comparative policy evaluation to enhance measures for overcoming barriers to accessibility and mobility, with a focus on the translation of academic knowledge to policy makers: MAPURBAN moves beyond the current state-of-the-art by scrutinising current urban policies and assessing their approaches in three cities from a relational comparative perspective.

Objective (3) – To work with newly arrived migrants to co-produce readings of their own perceptions of the urban environment: here we will apply novel approaches in the social and spatial sciences to facilitate dialogue about the future of superdiverse cities through participatory local interventions with refugees and newly arrived migrants.

Results and outcomes

Migrant Access to Public Urban Infrastructure

The MAPURBAN report (2023), shares experiences, approaches, methods, and knowledge between three cities: London, Berlin, and Stockholm. The report explores how cities provide public and semi-public infrastructure for newly arriving refugees, how governments handle such infrastructures under their control, and how these infrastructures frame future mobilities and immobilities. The infrastructures discussed are housing, education and language, healthcare, and mobility and social interaction.

The report is tailored for policy makers and practitioners working in the field of migration and urban planning allowing for a mutual learning process – within and beyond these three urban contexts.

Read more about the MAPURBAN project and the local case studies from London, Berlin, and Stockholm here.


MAPURBAN Berlin conducted a series of participatory mapping workshops with people in and around refugee shelters. Read the findings from the mapping workshop: Mapping Arrival: Childrens’ and women’s perspectives on arrival spaces in Berlin.

MAPURBAN Stockholm used a public participatory perspective for mapping inequalities, which included the art-and city development project ‘The Kitchen Square’ Read more about the project here.

Watch a video from the project.
MAPURBAN – Mapping Inequalities & The Kitchen Square (English)
MAPURBAN – Mapping Inequalities & The Kitchen Square (Swedish) 

Other publications

Press Release of the MAPURBAN Report (2023)

Expert Comment: Ukrainian refugee crisis impact on European cities (2022)

Mapping Arrival Infrastructures – Summary of MAPURBAN London colloquium (2022)

MAPURBAN German project article published in Tagesspiegel (2022) (in German)

Interested in knowing more about the MAPURBAN project. Visit the project website and follow the twitter accounts @mapurban @contested_urban @UnikentSAC


Duration: April 2021 –September 2022
Contact: Dr.Jonathan Rock (Lead partner), University of Kent, UK
Budget: 276,991 Euros
Project Partners: Dr Jonathan Rock Rokem (PI), University of Kent, UK
Prof. Ann Legeby, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden
Prof. Antonie Schmiz, Free University Berlin, Germany
Prof. Laura Vaughan, University College London, UK
Dr. Susanne Wessendorf, Coventry University, UK

Public Sector Partners:
Growth and Regional Planning Office, Stockholm, Sweden
Senate Department for Urban Development and Housing, Germany
The City of Sundbyberg, Sweden
Marabouparken Art Gallery, Stockholm, Sweden
Borough of Tower Hamlets, London, UK




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