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Development projects often involve the introduction of direct control by a developer over land previously occupied by another group. Natural resource extraction, urban renewal or development programs, industrial parks, and infrastructure projects (such as highways, bridges, irrigation canals, and dams) all require land, often in large quantity. One common consequence of such projects is the upheaval and displacement of communities. While the literature on development-induced displacement and resettlement ( DIDR) is clear in its focus on physical development projects that require land expropriation, these are not the only types of projects that can result in displacement. Conservation programs, such as wildlife re-introduction schemes and the creation of game parks and bio-diversity zones, also often oust communities. Issues surrounding conservation-induced displacement are dealt with in another FMO thematic research guide. Other types of policies can also induce migration. For example, a distributive policy decision that shifts jobs between two regions might cause some people to move in search of new employment. However, the literature on DIDR does not consider these types of policies. The focus is clearly on physical forms of development that require displacement by decree.

In much of the DIDR literature, scholars and activists consider development displacees to be those persons who are forced to move as a result of losing their homes to development projects. However, wider considerations of "project-impacted persons" have been advocated. Scudder (1996) suggests that our conception of project-impacted persons should include not only those directly displaced by loss of home, but also the host population that takes in displacees; all others who are neither directly displaced, nor hosts, yet who live in the vicinity of the project; and project immigrants. The latter group includes those tasked with planning, designing, and implementing the project, as well as those who later move to the region to take advantage of project-related opportunities – these, Scudder notes, are often beneficiaries of the project, whereas the two former groups are often adversely affected by projects. Similarly, the World Commission on Dams ( WCD) report refers not only to physical displacement, but also to livelihood displacement, which deprives people of their means of production and displaces them from their socio-cultural milieu. Mobile groups have been prone to this type of displacement as state and private-sector land demands have sometimes overlapped with the land claimed by these groups for grazing, hunting, migration, and other activities.

This research guide is not meant to provide a comprehensive treatment of the topic of DIDR. Rather, it offers an overview of some of the most important issues in the area. A sizeable number of electronic and print references are included; however, countless more were not included due to space limitations. The twenty-four-page Selected Bibliography on Displacement Caused by Development Projects prepared by Sánchez-Garzoli in 2003, which is available online, is a good resource for those in search of more references. Unfortunately, my language skills limited my search for and inclusion of non-English texts on DIDR. For this I apologize.

World Bank Resettlement Thematic Group
The International Network on Displacement and Resettlement
Website of Ted Downing, anthropologist with considerable experience on issues of displacement and resettlement
Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
Centre for Refugee Studies, York University, Toronto, Canada
Last updated Aug 17, 2011