This paper explores social resilience through the lenses of migration. It specifically studies the role of community architects in building socially resilient refugee camps which…
This paper explores social resilience through the lenses of migration. It specifically studies the role of community architects in building socially resilient refugee camps which are human settlements characterized by a transient and heterogeneous community with unique vulnerabilities. These settlements are managed through exceptional governance arrangements between hegemonic and counter-hegemonic humanitarian organizations.
Empirical evidences are drawn from the Office of Displaced Designers (ODD), a design-focused creative integration organization active on Lesvos island. During one-month ethnographic research with ODD, empirical data were harvested through an extensive review of project archive materials including transcripts and audio files of interviews with project participants and collaborators conducted by ODD, architectural drawings and teaching materials, photo and video archives and administrative documents. The ethnographic research was complemented with semi-structured interviews with the founding members and former volunteers and partners of ODD; key site visits to the Moria Hotspot and the surrounding Olive Groves; as well as a desk study on European Union (EU) policies and legislative papers and legal information regarding the asylum seeker application procedure in Europe and Greece.
Reflecting on the potential and limitations of community architects in building socially resilient refugee camps, the paper concludes that in order for community architects to make long lasting improvements they must think holistically and design flexible structural solutions for the entire camp, leverage existing expertise within communities and assist other organizations through administrative, financial and design consultancy support. Community architects are also expected to take active roles in forming pro-equity governance structures and steering pro-resilient humanitarian trajectories by acting as mediators, lobbying their partners, advocating for inclusive practices and social spaces and documenting their projects to build an evidence base across practices and contexts and to strengthen their voice as a collective of community architects.
The role of community architects in building socially resilient human settlements in post-disaster place-based recovery processes has been widely discussed in the disaster scholarship. These studies have primarily emphasized permanent and in situ reconstruction efforts in disaster-affected areas. What remains limitedly discussed is the resilience-building potential of community architects in extraterritorial temporary human settlements characterized by displacement and temporality such as in refugee camps. In light of these observations, the aim of this paper is to push the boundaries of knowledge on post-crisis recovery by re-approaching the notion of social resilience from a migratory perspective and revealing the potential and limitations of community architects in fostering socially resilient refugee camps in new (national) territories.
The purpose of this paper is to advance the understanding of “resilience” by disentangling the contentious interactions of various parameters that define and guide resilience…
The purpose of this paper is to advance the understanding of “resilience” by disentangling the contentious interactions of various parameters that define and guide resilience trajectories, such as the physical infrastructure, socio-spatial inequalities, path dependencies, power relationships, competing discourses and human agency. This socio-political reconstruction of “resilience” is needed for two reasons: the concept of resilience becomes more responsive to the complex realities on the ground, and the discussion moves toward the promotion of more dynamic recovery governance models that can promote socially just allocated redundancy in housing actions, which could be seen as a key to incubating resilience.
This is a conceptual paper that mobilizes theories of urban political ecology, social innovation and housing with the aim to examine the tensions between various discourses that steer housing production during post-disaster recovery processes, and put a spotlight on the heterogeneity in the transformative capacity of the various actors, institutions and visions of housing systems that preexist or emerge in the post-disaster city. This heterogeneity of actors (i.e. growth coalitions, neighborhood associations and housing cooperatives) consequently leads the discussion toward the investigation of “new” roles of the state in formulating relevant disaster governance models and housing (re)construction systems.
The initial stress produced by a natural event is often extended because of long-term unmet housing needs. The repercussion of this prolonged stress is a loss of social progress partly due to the reiterated oppression of alternative housing production propositions. In this paper, the authors conclude that an asset-based community development approach to recovery can provide an antidote to the vicious cycles of social stress by opening up diverse housing options. This means that the recovery destiny is not predetermined according to pre-set ideas but is molded by the various bottom-up dynamics that democratically sketch the final socially desirable reconstruction outcome(s).
The contribution of this paper is twofold. By using theoretical insights from urban political ecology, housing studies and social innovation, the paper first builds up onto the current reconstruction of the notion of disaster resilience. Second, by identifying a heterogeneity of “social resilience cells”, the paper leads the discussion toward the investigation of the “new” role of the state in formulating relevant recovery governance models. In this respect, the paper builds a narrative of social justice in terms of the redistribution of resources and the cultivation of empowerment across the various housing providers who struggle for their right to the reconstruction experiment.