Refugee camps are an issue where socio-cultural relations to space are more than a theoretical issue, but rather an essential requirement, if not even an ethical imperative. Despite their emergency purpose and their official qualification as temporary structures, yet the exceptional nature of the events refugees escape from and their persistence often make camps to stabilize and become permanent settlements, fully fledged cities destined to endure over time. It is hence evident that, when it goes at planning a refugee camp, the pressing requirement of an emergency structure, strictly aimed at receiving people and ensuring their survival, gives way to the wider need for an urban structure, whose spatial features actually correspond to the behavioural pattern of the population. The recent experience with a large number of camps, whose original layout has been subjected to the relevant spontaneous transformation by the population, testifies to how the adherence of the spatial features to the behavioural pattern is needed by the hosted refugees in their progressive becoming inhabitants of the new city. In basic terms, this poses the question of the compatibility of an emergency response, entrusted to standardized planning solutions and subject to few basic regulations, with the flexibility of an informal settlement, destined to evolve according to needs of the population. In this paper, we argue that a configurational approach could play a key role in facing this problem, and that space must serve as an essential reference for the development of refugee camps. Convinced that the social and cultural backgrounds of refugees should act as an essential framework for the development of their own lives inside camps, and assuming Za’atari refugee camp, in Jordan, as a case study, its grid configuration was analysed, as referred to the original layout and to the present state, and compared to the actual distribution of activities in order to appreciate the spontaneous adaptation the settlement has undergone. Besides, the configurational pattern of the refugees’ home cities was investigated, in order to point out the main spatial features they present and the behavioural phenomena they reproduce. The purpose is the proposal of a basic spatial layout the camp should comply with, suitable for matching the behavioural pattern of the hosted community while also available for any spontaneous development process.

'We were building a camp, they were building a city'. Refugee camps as a spatial laboratory for spatial inclusion

V. Cutini
;
2017

Abstract

Refugee camps are an issue where socio-cultural relations to space are more than a theoretical issue, but rather an essential requirement, if not even an ethical imperative. Despite their emergency purpose and their official qualification as temporary structures, yet the exceptional nature of the events refugees escape from and their persistence often make camps to stabilize and become permanent settlements, fully fledged cities destined to endure over time. It is hence evident that, when it goes at planning a refugee camp, the pressing requirement of an emergency structure, strictly aimed at receiving people and ensuring their survival, gives way to the wider need for an urban structure, whose spatial features actually correspond to the behavioural pattern of the population. The recent experience with a large number of camps, whose original layout has been subjected to the relevant spontaneous transformation by the population, testifies to how the adherence of the spatial features to the behavioural pattern is needed by the hosted refugees in their progressive becoming inhabitants of the new city. In basic terms, this poses the question of the compatibility of an emergency response, entrusted to standardized planning solutions and subject to few basic regulations, with the flexibility of an informal settlement, destined to evolve according to needs of the population. In this paper, we argue that a configurational approach could play a key role in facing this problem, and that space must serve as an essential reference for the development of refugee camps. Convinced that the social and cultural backgrounds of refugees should act as an essential framework for the development of their own lives inside camps, and assuming Za’atari refugee camp, in Jordan, as a case study, its grid configuration was analysed, as referred to the original layout and to the present state, and compared to the actual distribution of activities in order to appreciate the spontaneous adaptation the settlement has undergone. Besides, the configurational pattern of the refugees’ home cities was investigated, in order to point out the main spatial features they present and the behavioural phenomena they reproduce. The purpose is the proposal of a basic spatial layout the camp should comply with, suitable for matching the behavioural pattern of the hosted community while also available for any spontaneous development process.
978-972-98994-4-7
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11568/940166
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