At a time when the refugee crisis has increasingly become an urban problem across the globe, this panel seeks proposals that analyze how various refugee populations have adapted to, personalized and transformed the use of "permanent" structures in city centers.
Ongoing wars and political turmoil across the globe have caused millions of people to take refuge in neighboring countries or travel long distances to safer areas. Most of the refugee camps continue to accommodate millions of people cramped in tiny shelters and keep growing both in size and population. While some of the older camps eventually became permanent residential areas and were absorbed into traditional urban settlements, increasingly more refugees have been relocated in existing city centers (i.e., in poor quality hotels, unused public buildings, and peripheral neighborhoods) without having access to basic amenities. Such recent developments have shifted the focus away from isolated camp settlements and made the refugee crisis primarily an urban problem, whereas the issues concerning the integration of new communities into existing cities have remained largely unaddressed. This panel seeks proposals that analyze how various refugee populations, regardless of their location, have adapted to, personalized and transformed the use of existing, "permanent" structures, while in transit from camps to urban centers. The papers may also explore: the conceptualization of new building types that go beyond the typically narrow definition of the tent and the container; the development of public art projects for the integration of refugee communities in urban contexts; the relationship between existing urban neighborhoods and new refugee settlements; and cross-cultural collaborations which have informed the design of refugee settlements with higher public health and safety standards. We welcome proposals that deploy chronologically diverse, methodically nuanced, interdisciplinary, and comparative approaches.