Refugee Crisis. New Approaches to a Massive Problem.

Updated: Jul 24

The refugee crisis (urbanization in general) is staggering with 10’s of millions being displaced each year. The need for new approaches is overwhelming.


The session started with an overview by Andan Global Cities Chairman Christian Kaelin who has spent more than a decade on this mission with the idea to create refugee cities. He was one of a select group of people who shared their insights at the clubhouse in Davos to address the fundamental question: “Can we create for people a place in which they can build a life?”

Joining the roundtable discussion several of the global leaders in this field who had convened at the SDG Lab on the previous day at a session called Cities not Camps, provided insights into an extraordinary challenge and hopeful new approaches.


Kurtis Lockhart of Charter Cities, Michael Castle Miller of Refugee Cities. Sustainable Development Zone Alliance. Chairperson Joachim Ruecker shared the critical need for a new approach. The model of charter cities is not new. Examples include Senzhen, Dubai, Hong Kong and Singapore. Can this be expanded?

“Can we create for people a place in which they can build a life?”

What was quite alarming were the statistics and the description of how expensive, overwhelmed, and unsustainable is the current approach. Untold human suffering could be avoided with innovative policies advocated by this group.


As little as $3 million could provide fund communities to move from the informal (non-recognized, non-taxed) to the formal (recognized and taxed). 90% of the economy is informal, meaning very quickly opportunities and lives could be transformed. The wealth creation is tremendous and worthy of discovery.


To bring together thoughtful people seeking to solve this problem is inspirational. Altru support this effort by hosting a gathering in New York in September to communicate the important work of these extraordinary people. An expanded program is being developed for the next Altru Summit in Davos January 15th -16th, 2023.

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