Designing for a Better Society: How Tiny Houses can Have a Huge Impact

By Fernanda Marin, OuiShare

Interview with Ricardo Mayor on the role of designers and architects crafting our social tissue. We explore how the tiny house model was adapted to respond to the current refugee crisis. From how new production models can empower citizens and change our relationship with refugees, to ultimately changing the way we design cities. We are all familiar with the current refugee crisis. Images of camps, temporary settlements and people living in the streets of big cities have become ordinary. We all know there is a problem,  that cities are incapable -or unwilling- to deal with it. But what if we could design a solution that not only offers refugees decent living conditions but helps us to connect and improve our relationship with them? French and Spanish architecture firms Quatorze and D.A.T Pangea took on the challenge. The result is In My Backyard (IMBY), an initiative that builds tiny houses to temporarily install in people’s backyards to...

Cultivating Place: Refugees and Urban Gardening in Baltimore

By Katherine Peinhardt, Project for Public Spaces

This article is a part of an ongoing series about refugees in public spaces. PPS works on placemaking for peacemaking, highlighting the importance of public spaces in building communities for displaced people. There’s a difference between simply settling somewhere and finding a home. Refugees are faced with this reality every day — among new neighbors in a new city, building a sense of belonging is no small task. Working to create a place for oneself is a bold act of hope for a new life. So, what can public spaces do to help create a sense of place for refugees? One of the first points of contact for refugees entering the U.S. is often the International Rescue Committee (IRC), a nonprofit that resettles nearly 10,000 refugee cases annually, and helps them with everything from navigating new kitchen appliances to finding jobs and learning English. This work gives refugees a good start, but from there, they still face...