Documenting the Spatial Practices of Global Migration



Call for Papers: The Ethical Imperative

Category : BRIEFLY NOTED 09/18/2017

… for a session on  Architecture and Design as a tool for Migration and Advocacy

at the 106th ACSA Annual Meeting  The Ethical Imperative
March 15-17, 2018  |  Denver, Colorado
Co-chairs: Amir Ameri, University of Colorado Denver & Rebecca O’Neal Dagg, Auburn University
Host School: University of Colorado Denver

Interested in submitting a paper? see the ACSA call for more information here
Deadline extended to October 4th.

The Spatial Impact of Migration
Topic Chair: Kaja Kuehl, Columbia University

Migration and Advocacy 
This session discusses the imperative for architectural education to reach across disciplinary boundaries and develop tools for advocacy, policy and humanitarian aid for vulnerable populations using the example of migrants.

“WE WON’T BUILD YOUR WALL” is a phrase posted in large letters in architecture schools across the country these days. But then, what do we build? How can we use our skills as designers to promote integration and diversity? How can we encourage a new generation of architects to see the controversy as a positive call to action? This session calls for examples of the spatial impact migration has on our built environment.

        • Can design be a tool for advocacy?
        • How can it inform policy decision?
        • How can it project a future of inclusiveness, diversity and respect for communities?
        • How do we collaborate across disciplinary boundaries to impact the most vulnerable populations?

In his 2003 introduction to Drifting: Architecture and Migrancy Stephen Cairns explores the juxtaposition of the two terms: architecture/migrancy. Architecture is a term associated with “groundedness of buildings, the constitution of place, and the delimination of territories”, whereas migration is associated with “uprootedness, mobility and transience of individuals and groups of people”.  As much as we associate migration and migrants with mobility and transience, this session explores migration as a place-making tool and the powerful force this mobility exerts on cities in shaping their physical and social networks. It also seeks to discuss how architecture itself can be used as a tool for advocacy and policy-making to influence that process. Authors are encouraged to submit papers and projects that emphasize these two aspects using the following points of departure:

Architecture by migrants sees migrants as the agents: The creators of adaptations and transformations of the urban realm that combine some odd imagery of home clashing with the typical architecture of the destination city such as altered suburban bungalows for instance or converted warehouses into temples and prayer rooms. What is the role of design and design education in this everyday urbanism? What are examples of cultural sensitivity and awareness of certain spatial practices that manifest themselves in the design for the arrival city? How do we encourage understanding of public policy and power structures into our architecture curriculum?

Architecture for migrants takes on a critical role as a growing number of people across the globe are displaced from their homes due to conflicts or natural disaster. At the end of 2016 UNHCR estimated over 60 million forcibly displaced persons. Migrations of this sort are unplanned and unplannable by nature. In planning and designing for this population that left their home unwillingly, the dichotomy between the transient nature of migration and the permanence of place and architecture comes into full play. As the average time a refugee lives in a camp increases to more than 17 years, how can designers contribute solutions to the dilemma of temporary permanence? How can we collaborate with students and faculty of policy and governance produce more meaningful design beyond a better tent?


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