This article is free to access.
Millions of people have been forcibly displaced around the world at an alarming rate. In 2018, approximately 70.8 million people (UNHCR 2018) were living in refugee camps. These camps are the most immediate response to the emergency. However, they have become more than a simple temporary solution, with refugees spending significantly longer than they should. Motivated largely by an economic rationale, the camps are often produced rapidly, cheaply and effectively to accommodate the largest possible number of shelters in the shortest time. The aim of this paper is to explore whether the concept of permanence should be embedded in the spatial configuration of a refugees’ camp, or whether the concept of transient and temporary community would better reflect the aspirations of the users. The Al Za’atari camp has been selected as a case study to explore the nexus between spatial configuration and social aspirations of the refugees’ community. Indeed, the findings revealed that the spatial configuration of the Al Za’atari camp reflects social fabric, habits and organization of the refugees’ community. This has occurred to the point that the camp has taken on the appearance of a sort of informal city. This study therefore suggests recommendations to support the design of spatial and architectural solutions that better meet the actual needs of the final users largely disregarded in the current emergency approach.
Aburamadan, R., Trillo, C., & Makore, B. C. N. (2020). Designing refugees’ camps: temporary emergency solutions, or contemporary paradigms of incomplete urban citizenship? Insights from Al Za’atari. City, Territory and Architecture, 7(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40410-020-00120-z