Project Overview

Refugee camps are not considered as long-term settlements when they are planned and built, but the reality is that these camps exist for years and years. This lack of planning contributes to the increased alienation of refugees and to camps that are not necessarily designed in the best interest of the people they are suppose to serve.

The purpose of this project is to address that gap in refugee camp planning by looking to urban design topics as a way to think comprehensively about camp design. The project aims to provide macro and micro-level recommendations for refugee camps in Jordan, Syria’s neighbor to the south which is trying to accommodate the mass influx of Syrian refugees fleeing the Syrian civil war. The recommendations will be sent to designers at the Ennead Lab working on the Rethinking Refugee Communities projects with UNHCR and Stanford.

This is qualitative research project reviews the Handbook for Emergencies from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Additionally, the project investigates Zaatari and Azraq, the two most recent refugee camps in Jordan, as case studies to learn more about camp development, and interviews those who have had direct experience and exposure in these camps.

My project concludes that the UNHCR policy, although comprehensive for the initial emergency phase of a situation, does not adequately address the long-term needs of a camp. Zaatari needs to address how its looming permanence will affect host populations, and Azraq needs to boost community and address the emptiness issue. Both camps need a contingency plan for the how they will integrate into Jordanian society after the camps are no longer necessary.


Completed - June 2015

Partners & Supporters

Thank you to Kathie Friedman, Evan Elise, Don Weinreich, Eliza Montgomery, Alisa Reznick, Kelly Hostetler, Nico Martinucci, Chris Campbell, Ryan Hale, the CEP 2015 class, 2014 UW Jordan Study Abroad cohort, and my Accountability Groups.