Urbanization meets the environment: how can communities manage migration and protect against floods in a coastal Mozambican city?

Project Info

Principal Investigators

Stefan Leeffers (UCL)
Jacob Macdonald (University of Sheffield)
Pedro Vicente (Nova SBE)


International Growth Center (IGC)

Project Coordination

Patricia Caetano


Municipality of Quelimane

About this Project

The effects of climate-related disasters are exacerbated in cities due to rapid urbanisation and increasing population density, primarily when poorly planned and occurring in a setting of widespread poverty. Coastal cities in Mozambique are often hit by extreme weather events, leading to catastrophic floods. At the same time, urbanisation processes are happening across Africa, often in a speedy and unregulated manner. Due to conflict, rural migrants and internally displaced individuals see coming to the city as an opportunity to start again and improve their lives.
In this context, the construction of new informal houses in risky areas is frequent. Mangroves, essential to protect against floods and erosion, are cut at a pace not seen before.
Therefore, this project aims to investigate whether providing information and community incentives can help minimize the damage caused by flooding and inundations in the city of Quelimane, recently affected by Cyclone Freddy. This intervention utilizes the concept of “community-based development,” empowering the community to choose and implement strategies and solutions to reduce disaster risk. The study’s ultimate goal is to inform local and national governments on how to address climate change and better regulate the urbanization process.

Contributing to SDGs: