URBS 384 - Refugees and Urban Space
Semester Offered: Spring
At the end of 2019, the United Nations Higher Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) counted over 79.5 million forcibly displaced persons around the world. 26 million of these refugees are hosted in urban areas and urban camps. While assisting refugees usually entails the coordination between different local and international actors, and tailoring new policies to ensure their protection, it also results in the production of new urban spaces. In cities, for instance, refugees contribute to urbanization processes and can reshape the ways neighborhoods are built. Similarly, in camps, the temporary spaces and shelters offered to refugees gradually become more complex, turning into vibrant markets,spaces for socialization, and intricate dwelling arrangements and designs. Consequently, these spaces play host to clashes between the different visions and needs of local officials, humanitarian agencies, and newly arrived residents looking to establish a sense of home in an often-permanent but always precarious space. The emergence of urban space in refugee camps not only raises questions about the nature of such temporary spaces, but also urges us to rethink the meanings of 21th Century cities.
This course is an invitation to explore the impact of refugees on urban space. We look at how refugees act as architects and city-makers within the different contexts of displacements, and how they utilize their knowledge on space to produce new hybrid urbanities within settings characterized by permanent temporariness and precariousness. To do so, the course looks at different case studies in the Middle East. Ayham Dalal.
One 3-hour period.
Course Format: CLS
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