Date of Submission

Spring 5-11-2020

Degree Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Architecture



Committee Chair/First Advisor

Arash Soleimani


Every minute, 24 people are forcibly removed from their homes. This is due to violence, natural disasters, or human rights violations during premigration. Globally, there are 70.8 million people who are displaced, the largest number in history. To put this into perspective, imagine taking everyone from California and Texas and forcing them elsewhere. This is the scale of the refugee crisis. With this many people, we have to ask: what are the options? One: refugee camps or two: resettling in a foreign community. Unfortunately, some refugees are staying in camps designed for temporary use for up to 25 years. I mean imagine being in-transition or raising your kids in a sea of canvas tents for 25 years. Due to the lack of planning and infrastructure these camps not only damage the environment, but they also expose refugees to a host of health and safety concerns. During resettlement, refugees who live in a foreign community will likely experience racism and discrimination. 18 years ago, my family immigrated here from Vietnam. Without education or pre-exposure to English, we became victims of this discrimination. This means refugees are escaping one harsh reality into another of societal abuse and neglect.

This is why my research will challenge these two options. Whether in transition or resettlement, refugees are most concerned with their health, shelter, and education while trying to protect themselves from ethnic and sexual violence. With these external threats and more, refugees develop a sense of dependency on governmental aid and become fearful of their surroundings. As a result, the slowly lose their sense of agency. Therefore, my thesis is not to design another refugee camp but to ensure an infrastructure that bridges the “alien” to the citizen. An adaptable and expandable design that mixes microelements like transitional and incremental housing to provide shelter and security but also the macro-infrastructure to provide meaningful social spaces to invoke community and empowerment. With the adaptable micro and macro elements working in tandem in this pseudo-urban environment, agency will be reintroduced in the most intimate and social part of their lives.

Included in

Architecture Commons