This technical paper explores how urban planning can help cities in the Horn of Africa manage rapid urban expansion and improve conditions for the many migrants and IDPs who are settling in them.

One tool cities can use is Urban Expansion Planning, a methodology that has produced positive results in the Horn of Africa.

If implemented, urban expansion plans can create a structure for the city that makes it easier for new residents to find housing, practice their livelihoods, and access basic services – even if they initially arrive with few skills, connections, or resources. 


When a city is rapidly expanding in population and area, as many are in the Horn of Africa, urban planning is the primary available tool to organise the areas of new growth.


The benefits of an urban expansion plan go beyond helping migrants and IDPs. It involves creating an arterial network of roads that also makes room for existing residents to build new homes and grow businesses, helps protect vital environmental areas, creates new public open spaces, prepares the city for future investments in infrastructure and public transportation, and reduces traffic congestion.

The paper is a companion to the peer-learning workshop on Conceptualising Urban Planning and Integration in an Era of Urbanisation and Displacement organised through the CRRF Inclusive Urban Development and Mobility – Regional Network and Dialogue Action implemented by Cities Alliance and financed by the European Union Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF).