Refugee Youth in Public Space


AAG Panel Session ‘Urban Geographies of Refugee Youth: Public Space, Urban Infrastructure and Everyday Practices’

Cancelled due to covid-19

A session with presentations of Robin Finlay, Ilse van Liempt, David Roberts and Seth Cavello. Patricia Ehrkamp will act as a discussant.

Day: 9-4-2020
Start / End Time: 4:55 / 6:10
Room: Capitol, Sheraton, IM Pei Tower, Terrace Level
Organizers: Robin Finlay, Ilse Van Liempt, Kathrin Hörschelmann
Chairs: Robin Finlay

Refugee youth often find themselves in precarious and ambivalent positions in the cities and towns where they have settled. Insecure housing, lack of social networks, employment restrictions, possible exposure to localised regimes of racism and xenophobia, coupled with a lack of money, results in significant challenges in their everyday lives. Moreover, the spatial presence of refugee youth, especially in the public spaces of cities and towns, has been strongly problematized and interrogated in immigration debates. However, the city can also provide solidarity and support, where spaces of reception, humanitarianism and ‘sanctuary’ exist. Therefore, the city for refugee youth is a space of multiple realities, with challenges and possibilities. There is a growing body of geographical work that examines the roles cities and their infrastructure, rather than the state, play in relation to refugee rights and experiences (i.e. Bagelman, 2015; Caglar & Glick Schiller 2018; Darling, 2017; Darling and Bauder, 2019; Nettelbladt & Boano, 2019). This session seeks to examine the diverse urban experiences of refugee youth (ranging from childhood to early adulthood). We use the category ‘refugee youth’ to not only refer to young people with refugee status, but also those going through the asylum process and those who are considered as failed asylum seekers. The aim is to have papers that are highly attentive to the context of place, unearthing how local urban contexts produce distinct socio-spatial experiences. In particular, we are interested in how refugee youth navigate the city, what role public space plays in their everyday lives and how they experience and negotiate inclusion and exclusion in the city and its public spaces. Moreover, we are interested in papers that examine how refugee youth interact with the varied infrastructure of cities, and the impacts this has on their everyday lives and practices.


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Robin Finlay*, Newcastle UniversityRefugee Youth and Infrastructures of Reception and Control in Newcastle-Gateshead, UK 15 4:55
Presenter Ilse Van Liempt*, , Mieke Kox, Utrecht UniversityRefugee and asylum youth’s arrival infrastructures in Amsterdam 15 5:10
Presenter David Roberts*, University of Toronto, Patrick Rivers, The School at the Art Institute of Chicago , Kai Wood Mah, Laurentian UniversityHousing unaccompanied and separated refugee minors in the Greater Toronto area 15 5:25
Presenter Seth Cavello*, University of South FloridaBuilding Community in Buffalo: The Experience of Refugees from Burma 15 5:40
Discussant Patricia Ehrkamp University of Kentucky 10 5:55


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