There’s No Place Like a Refugee Camp? Urban Planning and Participation in the Camp Context

Anne Stevenson, Rebecca Sutton


The past half-century of urban studies has demonstrated that the design of human settlements is a potent tool of governance. Active involvement in place shaping has also been shown to be a key empowerment mechanism for citizens and a strong means of creating cohesion in communities. Internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugee camps are a unique form of human habitation, temporary spaces created “between war and city.” Drawing from urban planning theory, camp management tools, and migrant narratives, this paper will explore the dynamics of the spatial relationship between camp residents and the international governance bodies who manage them. As we will demonstrate, this approach offers important insights into how the relationships between camp residents and aid agencies are negotiated, and the implications for governance in societies camp inhabitants later (re)settle in.

Full Text: