Beyond Shelters

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Show simple item record Mohammad, Hanen 2023-05-10T13:11:29Z 2023-05-10T13:11:29Z 2023-05-10
dc.description This thesis will investigate the issues of displacement and existing solutions to forced displacement and the refugee crisis. Forced displacement occurs when people and communities are coerced to abandon their homes or regular places of residence to avoid or cope with the impacts of situations like armed conflict, widespread violence, human rights violations, and natural disasters. (UNHCR). Displacement is a global crisis impacting 103 million people worldwide, 32.5 million of whom are refugees. This thesis will focus on the Syrian refugees, their journey, and the spaces they occupy to analyze the inter-subjective nature of their experiences to uncover the presence of livelihood, agency, dignity, and psycho-social well-being in refugee camps to understand how well the refugees’ needs are met based on Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs. Based on the analysis and research, the thesis will also propose potential interventions to mitigate refugee concerns. As mentioned, this thesis is framed around the concepts of livelihood, agency, dignity, and psycho-social well-being in refugee camps. Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs has been utilized to understand where these concepts fall in the pyramid of needs and to understand how well refugees’ needs are met in camps. These concepts are defined as follows. Livelihood is defined as the means of securing life’s necessities, including food security, supportive dwellings, protection from elements, employment, education, and recreation. Agency is when a person is in control over their actions and their consequences. Some of the factors that indicate agency include the ability to support oneself, the ability to move freely, and the ability to personalize one’s spaces. Dignity is a person’s right to be valued and treated ethically. In spatial terms, access to proper infrastructure, adequate living conditions, protection from elements, and access to recreational spaces can increase a person’s sense of dignity. Finally, Psycho-social well-being “incorporates the physical, economic, social, mental, emotional, cultural, and spiritual determinants of health” (Kumar). Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is a motivational theory in psychology that proposes a pyramid-like model of human needs. The model consists of five tiers that are arranged hierarchically. Starting from the pyramid’s base, the first need is physiological, which includes necessities like food and clothing. The second need is safety, which involves the need for job security and a sense of stability. The third need is for love and belonging, which includes the desire for friendship and social connections. The fourth need is esteem, which involves recognition, respect, and a sense of achievement. The final and highest need is self-actualization, which involves the desire for personal growth and fulfilling one’s full potential. According to Maslow’s theory, individuals must fulfill lower-level needs before focusing on satisfying the needs at the higher levels. “International organizations such as UNHCR, Red Cross, AWH and others are playing a key role in providing strategic, organizational and practical support for establishing and managing refugee camps” (Rooij et al. 3). While the theUNHCR prefers to resettle, repatriate, or integrate refugees, host communities gravitate towards camps for safety reasons and due to the political nature of the crises. The aim is to contain refugees and reduce tensions between them and host communities because refugees are forced to flee to resource-scarce counties with preexisting social and political conflicts. In his book Displacements Architecture and Refugee, Andrew Herscher argues that when countries perceive refugees as potentially able to contribute to the workforce, the solutions become oriented toward the city. When they are perceived as potential citizens, it is oriented toward housing. However, when they are perceived as neither, the architecture is oriented toward camps (Herscher et al.). “Refugee camps appear to be, in fact, emerging urban environments, of which the aimed-at temporary status often prolongs into a long-term settlement – with populations often equaling regular cities” (Rooij et al. 3). While camps are intended to temporarily house refugees, the truth is that they often prolong into inadequate long-term settlements where refugees live in poor living conditions (150 SF space), have limited resources, lack education, and are prone to long-term displacement as they can remain in camps for decades. “Refugee Camp dwellers suffer from isolation, insufficient open space providing nature and recreational values, a lack of purposeful occupation and social interaction, and a sense of dependency from external support” (Rooij et al. 3). Refugees lack livelihood opportunities, a sense of agency, and dignity which, according to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, is critical for humans to feel a sense of fulfillment. Therefore, this study attempts to understand the spatial, social, economic, and phenomenological aspects of the three camps: Oncupinar in Turkey and Azraq and Zaatari in Jordan, which house Syrian Refugees. The aim is to better understand the four following elements. 1. What elements and spaces contribute to a person’s livelihood? 2. How to design interventions that foster agency? 3. What spaces, programs, and design elements support psycho-social wellbeing? 4. What are the characteristics of dignified living spaces? Despite the temporary nature of refugee camps, the dwellers, like all of us, have more than physiological needs and therefore require spaces, programs, and structures that allow them to have a more meaningful occupation in the camp. Refugees in Zaatari lack spaces, programs, and structures that contribute to psychosocial well-being. Some of the major concerns are the lack of shaded spaces; refugees are often exposed to the sun, which can negatively impact their physical and psychological health. Shading is crucial in improving living conditions, providing resting spaces, socializing, and gathering spaces. These concepts are all associated with a sense of comfort and dignity. Therefore, designing interventions that provide shaded spaces for refugees to gather, walk, rest, and potentially exchange goods and services is necessary to promote livelihood, agency, and dignity and enhance their psycho-social well-being. Various methods were utilized to research the spatial, social, economic, and phenomenological conditions of Oncupinar, Azraq, and Zaatari. Archival research, visual ethnography, interview analysis, and mapping exercises revealed that refugees want to be agents in their spaces, they are eager to work and support themselves, they feel in-dignified due to the lack of supportive dwellings, and they lack shaded recreational and communal spaces for adults. This negatively impacts the psychosocial well-being of refugees and the overall social fabric of the camps. Providing communal spaces does not solve the issue of displacement or address the lack of adequate living spaces. There should be better planning and designing of refugee camps, improvement to shelters, infrastructure, and integration of refugees into the local economy is critical in increasing refugees’ livelihood, agency, and dignity. It is important to accept that refugees have more pressing needs, such as more supportive dwellings, better infrastructure, job opportunities, and integration into the local economy. However, these solutions require policy reform, funding, and support from the host community. With the average life span of camps being 17 years, this thesis aims to implement practical and cost-effective design interventions to enhance the camp’s social fabric and foster a sense of agency to improve refugees’ psychosocial well-being. en_US
dc.description.abstract This thesis explores the living conditions in “temporary” settlements established in response to the Syrian conflict. Specifically, the study will focus on three camps to better understand the challenges and opportunities in these spaces. The study examines the concepts of livelihood, agency, dignity, and psycho-social well-being in these “transient” settlements to assess their implications for refugees and host communities. Livelihood refers to how individuals and communities make a living or secure the necessities of life. The study will examine how refugees make a living in the camps and whether there are any opportunities for them to build their livelihoods. Agency refers to the ability of individuals and communities to make decisions and take action on their behalf. The study will examine how refugees in the camps exercise agency and make decisions that affect their lives. Dignity refers to the inherent worth and value of individuals and communities. The study will explore what contributes to refugees’ sense of dignity in difficult living conditions and limited resources. Psycho-social well-being refers to mental and emotional health and individuals’ social relationships and supports systems. The study will examine whether the camp design, programs, and services support psycho-social well-being. Additionally, the study will utilize Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to better understand how well refugee camps are designed and whether they adequately fulfill the full spectrum of human needs. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a theory that suggests that human needs can be organized into a hierarchy, with basic physiological needs at the bottom and higher needs, such as self-actualization, at the top. The study will examine whether the camps provide for basic physiological needs, such as food, shelter, and healthcare, as well as higher needs, such as social belonging and self-esteem. Overall, this thesis seeks to comprehensively understand the living conditions in “temporary” settlements. By exploring the concepts of livelihood, agency, and dignity, as well as utilizing Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the study aims to assess the effectiveness of these spaces in meeting the needs of refugees and propose potential programmatic and design strategies to aid in fulfilling refugee needs. en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.subject Displacement en_US
dc.subject Refugees en_US
dc.subject Livelihood en_US
dc.subject Agency en_US
dc.subject Dignity en_US
dc.subject Psycho-social Well-being en_US
dc.subject Refugee Camps en_US
dc.subject Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs en_US
dc.title Beyond Shelters en_US
dc.title.alternative Designing Interventions to Foster Agency, Dignity, and Psycho-social Well-being in Zaatari en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US

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