Speaking at the plenary session at the Design for Humanity Summit in New York last Friday, our codirector emphasised the need to move away from refugee camp design and toward alternative physical and social measures to integrate refugees within cities.
The international summit, organised by Fordham University’s Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs (IIHA) with the support of the UN Migration Agency and the Permanent Mission of Ireland to the United Nations, featured discussions with prominent designers and humanitarians exploring the intersection between design and humanitarian action in an effort to provide best practices and generate human-centered design strategies that address contemporary humanitarian challenges.
“The only thing [these camps] accomplish is to keep refugees in a state of emergency that, unfortunately, becomes permanent,” said Carmen Mendoza, in a panel titled From Public Interest Design to Humanitarian Design: How Design Compels an Inclusive Humanitarian Response.
Left: Alumni Alberto Preato introducing the panelists
As reported by UIC School of Architecture, where in addition to codirecting our master program, Mendoza is also the assistant director of International Relations, “she argued that interdisciplinarity should be a vital element in the education of architects working in emergency contexts in the area of physical transformation, from an architectural to an urban scale.”
“Professionals interested in working in this highly complex field should be able to apply a systematic approach and have knowledge of the humanitarian system, political limitations, spatial identity and social and cultural dynamics”, said Mendoza.
The summit was co-organized by Alberto Preato, one of our former students and a visiting humanitarian research fellow at IIHA. Other panel participants included Marie Aquilino and Sergio Palleroni, both former lecturers of our program.
Below are a few snapshots taken by our codirector at the summmit. For official photos of the event, visit the summit’s flickr album.
From left to right: Sergio Palleroni, Carmen Mendoza and Marie Aquilino
Carmen Mendoza Arroyo with Gonzalo Sanchez-Teran, refugee camps expert and visiting professor of our program, who also attended the conference.