As the number of resettled refugees arriving in North American and European cities has grown in the 21st century, urban planners have largely failed to adapt their practice in ways that would allow more participation by refugees in municipal planning decisions. Interviews with urban planners and Somali refugees in the Twin Cities of Minnesota indicate that planners typically use public engagement processes that are confusing and intimidating for Somali refugees who may struggle with English, have little leisure time, and lack knowledge about norms associated with participating in these kinds of processes. After living under a predatory state in Somalia, many Somalis view urban planners as an extension of government and distrust them as a result. Urban planners experience more success engaging Somali refugees when they build relationships with individual community members and partner with Somali-led organizations to plan and execute participatory processes.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This article is based on data collected from “The Somali Diaspora’s Role in Somalia: Implications of Return” project, funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (QZA-13/0239). The lead author gratefully acknowledges the City Futures Research Centre at the University of New South Wales for hosting the lead author as a Senior Visiting Fellow for much of the writing of this article. This article is based on data collected from “The Somali Diaspora’s Role in Somalia: Implications of Return” project, funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (QZA-13/0239).
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