Sunday, December 5, 2010

Design a Refugee Camp and Other Fun Projects

Our fatuous friends over at Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine are very busy replicating themselves through a bunch of seemingly separate organizations, websites and exhibitions, all of which promote, in one way or another, the Right of Return. They're getting ready with prescriptions of how to prepare for the Return, and for retrofitting existing Israeli communities into urban models believed to approximate Palestinian habitation patterns for the eventual "re-take" of original villages and towns. The architectural ideas aren't bad in and of themselves, in fact it would be a blessing to see a change from the ubiquitous suburban housing types that now scatter all over Israel. But the point is, the goal is to subsume Israel into a new entity that accommodates the Return.

An example of designing for the Return: Design project for rehabilitating
Kafr Bir'im, a Palestinian Christian village which was captured
and evacuated by the Haganah in the war of 1948 , and had been,
 in fact, originally a Jewish  pilgrimage site. 
Yet, just as the veil is slowly lifting off the Return conceit and UNRWA is being acknowledged, here and here for what it is -- the structure that underlies the multi-generational imprisonment of the refugees and the sustainer of the myth of the Return, here comes an architecture workshop at Bezalel which asks students to test their design skills on bringing refugee camps up to 21st Century code. Not, mind you, in order to integrate the refugees into PA's jurisdiction, or design a program for the urban renewal of those camps so that they can become coterminous with existing PA towns and villages. No, the workshop assumes the continuation of refugee status and temporary shelter for those stuck in the camps. And by temporary, the workshop isn't talking about the types of camps that house refugees on the eventual road to resettlement but rather a camp that "...would be sustainable for at least one century."

"As we were invited to give a workshop to the students of Bezalel’s architecture faculty in Jerusalem -a city in which the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is in its extreme- we have decided to focus on the issue of Palestinian refugees. Along the city’s municipal-line and on the other (the Palestinian) side of the Wall, one can find the oldest refugee camps in the world. While reflecting on this reality, we have asked the students to rethink the UN planning regulation of a refugee camp, as they are given to doctors.

We have asked a pragmatic question: to shape a camp that would be sustainable for at least one century.

Typical services and infrastructure requirements for refugee camps

1 latrine 1 family (6–10 persons)

1 water tap 1 community (80–100 persons)

1 health centre 1 camp (of 20,000 persons)

1 hospital up to 200,000 persons

1 school 1 sector (5,000 persons)

4 commodity distribution sites 1 camp module (20,000 persons)

1 market 1 camp module (20,000 persons)

2 refuse drums 1 community (80–100 persons)

Site planning figures for emergencies

Land 30 – 45 m2 per person

Shelter space 3.5 m2 per person (tents or other structures)

Fire break space a clear area between shelters 50 m wide should be provided for every 300 m of built-up area

Minimum of 1-1.5 m should be provided between guy-ropes of neighbouring tents on all sides

Roads and walkways 20-25% of entire site

Open space and public facilities 15-20% of entire site

Environmental sanitation 1 latrine seat per 20 people or ideally 1 per family sited not farther than 50 m from user accommodations and not nearer than 6 m.

1 x 100 litre refuse bin per 50 people

1 wheelbarrow per 500 people

1 communal refuse pit (2 m x 5 m x 2 m) per 500 people

Water 15-20 litres per person per day of clean water

Health centre: 40-60 litres/patient/day

Feeding centres: 20-30 litres/patient/day

Tap stands 1 per 200 persons, sited not farther than 100 m from user accommodations

Warehouse space for food grains in bags, stacked 6 m high, allow 1.2 m2 of floor space per ton

Data: A Handy Guide to UNHCR Emergency, Standards and Indicators, eCentre"

1 comment:

  1. " to shape a camp that would be sustainable for at least one century."

    And in the Orwellian world in which we live, this is considered "pro" Palestinian.



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