Sustainable Refugee Camps

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Whilst United Nations High Commission for Refugees' is calling for “durable solutions” for displaced people, the current plans are for refugees to live their lives permanently in temporary structures. Due to the lack of internal and external interactions, current refugee camps represent communities that could not be recognized as communities. We need to revisit this malfunction approach and acknowledge the broken community which is deprived of the fundamental requirements of a sustainable community, resilience and self-sustainability. The resolution to the crisis would be to recreate a self-sustained social | spatial wireframe as the initial step to create a resilient community.

At Morphotect, we are envisioning refugee camps that are self-sustained and resilient communities with a healthy interaction with their surrounding communities. The proposed structures are to be assembled and maintained by the occupants. Our proposal is an integrated approach, addressing social, financial, energy and material consumption. We are designing self-sustained, net positive cells for habitat units that would eliminate the need for infrastructure and limitations of it.

Our strategic action plan takes place prior to a disaster that causes displacement. It initiates with a real-time automated AI that utilizes satellite image recognition and machine learning algorithms and would be triggered by a disaster report. Project’s site-specific and geotechnical properties will be analyzed, considering available access routes, future re-establishment, land capacity, urban limits and local property development potentials. Primary design parameter is the total number of displacement people impacted by the disaster. The UNHCR guidelines provide the essential data for the energy and food consumption of the camp and will shape the basis of design requirements for a net positive camp. We are utilizing generative design and circular economy principles to achieve a self-sustained and resilient habitat for the occupants. The generative design approach will determine the location of the camp as well as the design elements such as, the total number of residential units, their spatial relation and the geometry of a green shell that will role as a passive microclimate control system and planetary base.

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