Public services and vulnerability in the Lebanese context of mass displacement

Funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund: Cities and Infrastructure programme

Funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund: Cities and Infrastructure programme

"Public Services and Vulnerability in the Lebanese Context of Large-Scale Displacement" is a research project designed by Principal Investigator Professor Henrietta Moore (UCL), and Co-Investigators Dr Nikolay Mintchev (UCL), Professor Nick Tyler (UCL), Dr Camillo Boano (UCL), Dr Andrea Rigon (UCL) and Professor Nasser Yassin (AUB). Its aims are closely aligned with those of the RELIEF Centre.

In September 2017 it was announced that the project was a successful applicant of the new Cities and Infrastructure research funding programme from the British Academy. The Cities and Infrastructure programme is part of the £1.5 billion Global Challenges Research Fund and is being delivered by the British Academy on behalf of the national academies. 


This project aims to improve the design, quality and inclusiveness of public services in Lebanon in areas with large numbers of Syrian refugees. The arrival of over a million Syrians in Lebanon since 2011 has put enormous strain on economies and services. Current approaches to planning in Lebanon are based on a top-down approach which does not reflect the changing circumstances of communities and which has forced increased reliance on an informal sector that is approaching its absorbing limit. In contrast to a top-down approach, this project begins by identifying the multiple forms of vulnerability, resilience and agency of both refugees and hosts, and the ways in which people’s experiences are structured by inequalities embedded in infrastructure and service provision. The project focuses on small research areas to produce fine-grained qualitative and ethnographic data in order to understand how people’s concrete experiences link to larger policies and inequalities at the municipal and national levels.

Three core research questions guide the project:

  1. What are the forms of vulnerability faced by refugees and hosts and their links to unequal distribution of services?
  2. How can hosts and refugees in Lebanon participate in the design of more inclusive and resilient infrastructure?
  3. How can the research and knowledge transfer capabilities of Universities be reconfigured to develop innovative responses to these challenges and implement policy changes?

Professor Henrietta Moore (UCL Institute for Global Prosperity) 

Principal Investigator

Dr Nikolay Mintchev (UCL Institute for Global Prosperity)


Professor Nick Tyler (UCL Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering)


Dr Camillo Boano (UCL Development Planning Unit)


Dr Andrea Rigon (UCL Development Planning Unit)


Dr Nasser Yassin (AUB Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs)