Good Design for a Bad World: Refugees

During this year’s edition of the Dutch Design Week, design platform ‘Dezeen’ organized a series of talks as part of their Good Design for a Bad World series. One session was concentrated on the topic of migration and how architecture and design could help tackle issues arising from population movement. The panel consisted of humanitarian expert Kilian Kleinschmidt, architecture critic Rene Boer and architecture historian Michelle Provoost of Crimson Architectural Historians – our partner in the city of Comings and Goings research project.

The panel called for more intelligent, joined-up solutions and fewer token gestures. To not “design yet another shelter for refugees,” but to “find ways how architecture and design could make our cities more adaptive to migration”. They also stressed the need for schools and universities to recognise the shortage of expertise and the lack of adequate thinking about refugees and offer new courses to train a new generation of architects, designers and planned equipped to deal with the growing phenomenon of population movements.

Europe’s ongoing refugee crisis, which has seen millions of people try to enter the continent by land and sea, has triggered a wide response from the creative community. Yet refugees are a global phenomena: 2016 saw a record 65.6 million people forced to leave their homes. Population movements are predicted to increase still further in future, with climate change expected to become a major driver as rising seas, failing crops and extreme weather force tens of millions of people to move.