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Participatory Planning in a Refugee Camp Camp City Goz Amer

08. February 2018, 6:30 pm

Goz Amer is one of many refugee camps worldwide planned as a reaction to an emergency situation. However, the state of emergency has continued since the start of the Darfur conflict in Sudan in 2003. Pacification is not in sight in the near future. The strictly planned - temporary - tent camp has meanwhile changed into a permanent settlement. The effects of planning based on functionalist aspects reflects the structure of the refugee camp; it has grown to a certain size in a dwarfish region, such as the Sub-Saharan region, whose dimension usually does not allow local resources. The tension between the transience and the permanence of the place forms an ongoing process in the survival of the refugee camp, in which the conflict among the inhabitants with the term ‘ephemeral’ is also expressed in the architectural structure.

This lecture draws a picture of the changing refugee camp Goz Amers, in which the high competence of the inhabitants shows to adapt the camp - within the limited possibilities - to their needs. There is a collaborative process of spatial differentiation in which the original homogeneous tent structure dissolves into an intricate fabric of dwellings, marketplaces, shops, workshops, meeting places and community facilities, traversed by an organic network of streets and paths.

The jointly directed changes are the starting point of a collective consultation and planning process, in which the inhabitants' impulses for change are translated into concrete structural interventions. The aim is to find out how this can improve the ability to act of the inhabitants in a context that usually goes hand in hand with the loss of self-determination and the curtailment of rights.

The lecture shows the results of a three-week trip to the refugee camp Goz Amer and a subsequent diploma thesis by Tobias Kusian.

The lecture is in German.