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Research Activity: Examining the Urban Dimension of the Security Sector

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Project overview

Examining the Urban Dimension of the Security Sector

Project supported by the Folke Bernadotte Academy (FBA)

The project started under the assumption that the urban environment poses a complex set of conceptual and empirical issues for research on SSG and SSR, possibly pointing to a unique “urban security sector”. If there is such a thing as an urban security sector, distinct from a national security sector, issues such as urban planning, urban-focused human security and human development in cities become relevant to security sector reform efforts. Important differences also arise between and among urban environments, requiring one to distinguish “megacities” from other cities, capital cities from non-capital cities, and various forms of urban systems. In addition, the urban security sector dynamics differ depending on whether the city is situated in a developed, developing, fragile and conflict-affected, or post-conflict context. Furthermore, local forms of empowerment must be discerned, specifically in cities plagued by gang violence or corrupt police where the lines between formal and informal security sectors may be blurred.

In light of growing interest and investment in urban safety and security, exemplified by the provisions of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 11 -Sustainable Cities and Communities, increasing our understanding of the urban security sector has never been more timely.