The European Union and individual countries have been struggling to find answers to the refugee immigration, that in 2015 has seen a number of nearly 60 million global forced displaced people for the first time since the World War II.
Bold and innovative ideas are needed for impacting solutions that can provide a long-term help.
In this project, Arup has partnered with the Design platform What Design Can Do (WDCD, the Netherlands) to help in the acceleration phase of a global design challenge aimed at improving the lives of refugees in urban areas.
One of the five winning projects, AGRIshelter, has been launched as a sustainable housing solution for the shortage of refugee shelters that considers social, urban, environmental and economic factors. It is built of biodegradable, local materials, which are durable, provide good insulation and are readily available in and around every city. The whole 35-m2 unit can be erected in day by people with minimum skills and it is also easy to disassemble. The shelter can be built on vacant urban sites to prevent the formation of ghettoes on the edges of cities.
Arup has actively contributed to develop this concept further and bring it nearer to realisation. In November 2016 volunteers from Ireland, Italy, Germany and The Netherlands have teamed up to develop the concept design and prove multidisciplinary technical advice.
After some design optioneering a full scale prototype was built in Milan in February 2017 with the help of three members of the team, creating also an opportunity to work jointly with a community of political refugees.
‘The professional expertise of Arup was extremely useful to help social entrepreneurs reach their goals’