Refugee camps are the "cities of tomorrow", says humanitarian-aid expert


Governments should stop thinking about refugee camps as temporary places, says Kilian Kleinschmidt, one of the world's leading authorities on humanitarian aid (+ interview).

"These are the cities of tomorrow," said Kleinschmidt of Europe's rapidly expanding refugee camps. "The average stay today in a camp is 17 years. That's a generation."

"In the Middle East, we were building camps: storage facilities for people. But the refugees were building a city," he told Dezeen.

Kilian Kleinschmidt

Kleinschmidt said a lack of willingness to recognise that camps had become a permanent fixture around the world and a failure to provide proper infrastructure was leading to unnecessarily poor conditions and leaving residents vulnerable to "crooks".

"I think we have reached the dead end almost where the humanitarian agencies cannot cope with the crisis," he said. "We're doing humanitarian aid as we did 70 years ago after the second world war. Nothing has changed."

Kleinschmidt, 53, worked for 25 years for the United Nations and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees in various camps and operations worldwide. He was most recently stationed in Zaatari in Jordan, the world's second largest refugee camp – before leaving to start his own aid consultancy, Switxboard.

SURI shelters from Suricatta Systems
A number of designers have responded to the refugee crisis by creating various types of shelter, like this one by Suricatta Systems

He believes that migrants coming into Europe could help repopulate parts of Spain and Italy that have been abandoned as people gravitate increasingly towards major cities.

"Many places in Europe are totally deserted because the people have moved to other places," he said. "You could put in a new population, set up opportunities to develop and trade and work. You could see them as special development zones which are actually used as a trigger for an otherwise impoverished neglected area."

Refugees could also stimulate the economy in Germany, which has 600,000 job vacancies and requires tens of thousands of new apartments to house workers, he said.

"Germany is very interesting, because it is actually seeing this as the beginning of a big economic boost," he explained. "Building 300,000 affordable apartments a year: the building industry is dreaming of this!"

"It creates tons of jobs, even for those who are coming in now. Germany will come out of this crisis."

Autoprogettazione furniture by Enzo Mari for CUCULA refugee programme
Italian designer Enzo Mari recently granted Berlin-based organisation CUCULA permission to reproduce his Autoprogettazione furniture to provide work for refugees

Kleinschmidt told Dezeen that aid organisations and governments needed to accept that new technologies like 3D printing could enable refugees and migrants to become more self-sufficient.

"With a Fab Lab people could produce anything they need – a house, a car, a bicycle, generating their own energy, whatever," he said.

His own attempts to set up a Zaatari Fab Lab – a workshop providing access to digital fabrication tools – have been met with opposition.

"That whole concept that you can connect a poor person with something that belongs to the 21st century is very alien to even most aid agencies," he said. "Intelligence services and so on from government think 'my god, these are just refugees, so why should they be able to do 3D-printing? Why should they be working on robotics?' The idea is that if you're poor, it's all only about survival."

"We have to get away from the concept that, because you have that status – migrant, refugee, martian, alien, whatever – you're not allowed to be like everybody else."

Update 25/01/2016: The figure given by Killian Kleinschmidt for the average stay in a refugee camp is a reference to a 2004 UNHCR study, which estimated that the "average duration of major refugee situations" was 17 years.

Read the edited transcript from our interview with Kilian Kleinschmidt:

Talia Radford: Why did you leave the UN?

Kilian Kleinschmidt: I left the the UN to be as disruptive as possible, as provocative as possible, because within the UN of course there is certain discipline. I mean I was always the rebel.

Talia Radford: What is there to rebel about?

Kilian Kleinschmidt: I think we have reached the dead end almost where the humanitarian agencies cannot cope with the crisis. We're doing humanitarian aid as we did 70 years ago after the second world war. Nothing has changed.

In the Middle East, we were building camps: storage facilities for people. But the refugees were building a city.

These are the cities of tomorrow. The average stay today in a camp is 17 years. That's a generation. Let's look at these places as cities.

Talia Radford: Why aren't refugee camps flourishing into existing cities?

Kilian Kleinschmidt: It's down to the stupidity of the aid organisations, who prefer to waste money and work in a non-sustainable way rather than investing in making them sustainable.

Talia Radford: Why are people coming to Europe?

Kilian Kleinschmidt: Everybody who is coming here right now is an economic migrant. They are not refugees. They were refugees in Jordan, but they are coming to Europe to study, to work, to have a perspective for their families. In the pure definition, it's a migration issue.

Right now everybody is going to Germany because in Germany they have 600,000 job vacancies. So of course there is an attraction, and there is space. Once the space is filled, nobody will go there anymore. They will go somewhere else.

Talia Radford: How do refugees – or economic migrants – know where to go? Via the media?

Kilian Kleinschmidt: No, it's all done through Whatsapp!

Talia Radford: What is the relationship between migration and technology?

Kilian Kleinschmidt: Every Syrian refugee in the Zaatari camp has been watching Google self-driving cars moving around, so [they] don't believe the information only belongs to the rich people anymore.

We did studies in the Zaatari camp on communication. Everybody had a cellphone and 60 per cent had a smartphone. The first thing people were doing when they came across the border was calling back home to Syria and saying "hey we made it". So the big, big thing was to distribute Jordanian sim cards.

Once we had gotten over the riots over water and lots of other things that politicised the camp, the next big issue was internet connectivity.

Talia Radford: What are the infrastructure requirements of a mass influx of refugees?

Kilian Kleinschmidt: The first is the logistics of accommodation: that's the survival bit. Everyone is struggling with this now, in reception centres, camps – every country in the world is dealing with this. Eighty-five to 90 per cent of any people on the move will be melting into the population so the real issue is how you deal with a sudden higher demand for accommodation.

Germany says that they suddenly need 300 to 400,000 affordable housing units more per year. It's about dealing with the structural issues, dealing with the increased population, and absorbing them into existing infrastructure.

Talia Radford: How do you see the refugee situation in Europe now?

Kilian Kleinschmidt: The discussion in Germany is quite interesting, because they currently have 600,000 jobs to fill, but they are all in places where there is no housing. It's all in urban centres where they have forgotten to build apartments.

Half of east Germany is empty. Half of southern Italy is empty. Spain is empty. Many places in Europe are totally deserted.

You could redevelop some of these empty cities into free-trade zones where you would put in a new population and actually set up opportunities to develop and trade and work. You could see them as special development zones, which are actually used as a trigger for an otherwise impoverished, neglected area.

Germany is very interesting, because it is actually seeing this as the beginning of a big economic boost. Building 300,000 apartments a year: the building industry is dreaming of this! It creates tons of jobs, even for those who are coming in now. Germany will come out of this crisis.

In Pakistan, in Jordan, they say "Oh no! These people are all going back in five minutes so we're not building any apartments for them! Put them in tents, put them in short-lived solutions." What they are losing is actually a real opportunity for progress, for change. They are losing an opportunity for additional resources, capacities, know-how.

Talia Radford: What other technologies have you dealt with in relation to refugees and migration?

Kilian Kleinschmidt: Energy is the big one. Things are finally moving because of the energy storage, which we suddenly have with the Tesla batteries for instance. Decentralised production of energy is the way forward. Thirty per cent of the world's population does not have regular access to energy. We could see a mega, mega revolution. With little investment we can set up a solar-power plant that not only provides power to the entire camp, but can also be sold to the surrounding settlements.

And water. In the Kibera slum in Nairobi, Danish groundwater pump supplier Grundfos partnered with a water company and you now have a smart-water terminal in the slum, where with smart cards you can buy clean drinking water.

You buy your water from a safe location for a fraction of what the crooks of the water business in Nairobi would sell the water for. So suddenly it becomes affordable, it becomes safe, and you can manage the quantities yourself.

A lot of change is facilitated by mobile phones. No poor person has a bank account any more in Kenya. Everybody has an M-Pesa account on their mobile phone. All transactions are done with their mobile phone. They don't need banks. They pay their staff now with your mobile phone. You charge their M-Pesa account.

Talia Radford: Are any of these services being set up at refugee camps?

Kilian Kleinschmidt: At Zaatari, the UNHCR never planned to provide electricity for the households. So people took it themselves from the power lines running through the camp. Electricity means safety, it means social life, it means business. Big business! People were charging €30 per connection and more.

With a $3 million investment in pre-paid meters, you could have ensured every household would get a certain subsidised quantity of energy. The UNHCR didn't think it would have $3 million to invest in the equipment, and so it is spending a million dollars a month of taxpayers' money on an unmanaged electricity bill.

Talia Radford: You helped set up a Fab Lab in Zaatari. Tell us a bit more about that.

Kilian Kleinschmidt: It's not there yet, because it's very problematic to convince people that this is the right way for refugees to be "empowered" – to do something that actually belongs to the rich and beautiful and very connected people.

That whole concept that you can connect a poor person with something that belongs to the 21st century is very alien to even most aid agencies. Intelligence services and so on from government think "my god, these are just refugees, so why should they be able to do 3D-printing? Why should they be working on robotics?" The idea is that if you're poor, it's all only about survival.

I mean what's the difference between someone in Philly and somebody in a refugee city? We have to get away from the concept that, because you have that status – migrant, refugee, martian, alien, whatever – you're not allowed to be like everybody else.

With a Fab Lab people could produce anything they need, a house, a car, a bicycle, generating their own energy, whatever. I mean a Fab Lab is there to do anything. We call it Beyond Survival.

Talia Radford: What do you mean by Beyond Survival?

Kilian Kleinschmidt: Beyond Survival deals with the psyche of people, to recognise that they need to regain everything they have lost, and this is not material, this is about their dignity.

I mean the Syrians, for their wellbeing, they need a fountain and a birdcage and a plant and they need to sit next to the fountain to drink tea. That's their expression of home. So everybody at Zaatari was building fountains.

Talia Radford: They built fountains in the camp?

Kilian Kleinschmidt: Yes. You had all sorts of models of fountains. Fountains even built in the middle of tents. Huge fountains built with little pebbles and stuff. They were investing all the little they had into having a water pump with water coming out.

There were even fountains with in-built televisions, light shows, you name it! The owner of my favourite restaurant had installed a pink fountain with pink-coloured water coming out.

Next to this you needed a birdcage, a plant, a shisha, but also paintings and decorations, which of course created a market within the camp, but more importantly a sign of settling and a sense of identity.

Because when you arrive at a camp you have basically been stripped naked and lost everything that has to do with your identity. And in a camp you are treated the same as everyone else, you are supposed to eat the same, drink the same, you get the same clothes. That's the humanitarian standard.

But we need to understand that somebody might just want to build a jacuzzi in their home, and will find the means to get it!

The funniest story was when this guy developed a cement swimming pool in his yard in a camp! He filled it with water and would charge children for using it. UNICEF shut it down eventually because it was not safe.

  • Elena

    ”He believes that migrants coming into Europe could help repopulate parts of Spain and Italy that have been abandoned as people gravitate increasingly towards major cities.”

    If I try to be polite as much as possible due to rules of website, migrants are people. All people belong to a place. Place concerns identity. Migrants will feel best in their home lands. The big flaw in this guy’s thinking is they don’t wish to populate abandoned places, they want to live in rich places, in cosmopolitan cities.

    They want to have a nice air-conditioning system, occupy luxurious flats. They have quite a lot of demands, that’s why they have come to Europe. They don’t care about the basics like a toilet and a bed.

    Second question is, why Spain and Italy? Europe processes are pretty much the same elsewhere. Instead of thinking of the problem in its sincerity, we try to deny identity in any way, nowadays.

    There is nothing wrong with the words nation and identity because after all they are the ones that have defined how humanity lives, at least until now. Question your values, investigate your roots.

    • Ted

      “They want to have a nice air-conditioning system, occupy luxurious flats. They have quite a lot of demands, that’s why they have come to Europe. They don’t care about the basics like a toilet and a bed.”

      I somehow doubt air conditioning is what migrants are thinking of as they are fleeing war-torn parts of the world and terrifying regimes in overcrowded boats. You really ought to stop reading Murdoch’s papers.

      • Erevan

        Man, why do you have to be offensive? I have worked with migrants and I am a migrant myself, and I think that she has raised a couple of good points.

        War-caused migrants are an important part of the migrants total, but not a majority. Also, most of them were living in cities, so they may have different expectations to what they can find in some country’s countryside, which has been abandoned in some cases for good reasons. Easy solutions never worked.

      • Guest

        And you really ought to be more open with your virtue signalling.

    • Ramone

      In other words you don’t want migrants in Europe. But Angela Merkel is smart – she knows the Syrian migrants are mostly middle-class professionals and Germany needs skilled immigrants to supplant its shrinking population. The days of the homoethnic nation state are over. Bloodlines do not determine identity. What the EU needs is a way for people to immigrate to Europe legally (and to solve the Euro problem or there will be no EU but that’s a different story).

      • Trent

        Homo-ethnic nations are by far richer in culture than “multicultural” make-believe utopias.

  • Trent

    It’s unfortunately what happens when the US stops policing the world.

    • fresh10

      I hope I’m reading this wrong and have the wrong end of the stick, but if this statement means exactly what I believe, it is a fatuous conclusion. This situation exists because of the US’ moronic self-righteous policing.

      • Trent

        Really? Prove it.

        • Dis

          US supported Assad then supported people fighting him, then supported Islamic State fighters and now bomb and kill Islamic State fighters. Assad had Syria under control until America f*cked it all up. Your use of the term “policing” when keeping in mind the reality of the slaughter and abuse that you call policing in America is actually very fitting though, so well done for that.

          • Trent

            Your response proves that we have a so-called leader that has completely changed the entire direction of our ‘policing’ and turned it into a confusing cradling. The mess in the world today is not because of anything else other than the US retrieving and fighting the wrong fight the wrong way.

            I think it’s great that the US has the cojones to overthrow brutal a-holes like Gadafi and Assad. I think most people stuck living under those people would be appreciative of us if we wouldn’t retract and leave them as sitting ducks once they are gone or dead. Look up how many people die after we leave, it’s atrocious.

            We’re all onboard to nation build and social engineer the hell out of our own country (USA) for the benefit of the “collective” but we are completely against doing it in other countries? We prefer to just sit on the side lines and watch them kill each other or better yet, watch a hip dictator do it. Mao, Castro etc…

          • Dis

            You can’t be serious. What good has social engineering from the USA ever done in any country? Such as Iraq?

        • DVO9

          Last month, the Institute for Economics and Peace published this:

        • jamieobomber

          You must be up-voting yourself. I don’t see anyone else that would.

      • Lil’Ditty

        As an American, I hate to see our young men shipped off to die or develop PTSD in wars that we should not be involved in. The politics of sovereign states is the business of multinational organisations. The Truman Doctrine marked the official death of American non-interventionism, one of our valued founding principles.

        While I respect your right to our valued freedom of speech, I urge you to reassess the role of a single nation in the affairs of other sovereign nations. In America we do our veterans a great disservice, asking more of them and caring less for them. That being said in the wake of tradegies in Paris, Syria, and around the world, our hearts and thoughts are with you.

    • Padraigin Eagle

      Hahahahahahah. Hah.

      • Trent

        You all can laugh your lives away but it’s true. While the US was involved in the world prior to Iraq the massive problems that are happening in the world today were nonexistent. Besides, this liberal president’s (non interventionist) school to the world has killed how many innocent people?

        It’s far more than any war or all wars entered by the US combined. How many massacres and genocides against Muslims, Christians and women have occurred only within the last five years? Ever since the US took a step back and/or started aiding “revolutions” (a word tossed around in liberal circles as a good thing) to help topple dictatorships the wrong way all hell has broken loose in the world.

        Rather than staying in these countries and helping the local opposition set up proper protocols to then have a successful democracy, we leave without finishing the job. Ie. Iraq, Syria etc. Don’t take my word for this, people in all these countries have grown to hate us because of the lack of support despite their (opposition groups) numerous requests. Instead we leave them hanging half way through and watch them all die so dumb liberal nuts like you all don’t scream and like the free spoiled brats you all are.

        By the way, before you spew any further hate towards the best country in the world you should take a look at the other side of the argument and think for yourselves. The US has saved more people from dying than any other country in the history of the world. The lives saved far supersede those lost. I was born and raised in a Communist country. Your ultimate Communist utopia is the biggest bunch of BS. I actually know what it’s like to be a refugee and be saved by the US.

  • James

    This is the biggest challenge architects have faced in a generation. I just hope we’re up to it.

    • John H.

      I agree with you, but depend upon it: we’re not.

  • Lindsay

    It would be great to see some major architectural organisations and influential architects get together to push for a radical rethink of refugee camps.

    Call me naive but I’d never thought of a refugee camp as anything other than a temporary solution. The average stay of 17 years is a frightening statistic. It should be enough to shake us into action.

    However, I’m a great believer in providing the right tools for refugees. Governments and charities do not need to do everything. It’s about preserving life first, offering expertise second and then collaborating with those trying to make a better lives for themselves and their families. Also, as the article rightly points out, refugees have so much to offer our societies.

  • Patrick D

    It shouldn’t and won’t just be left to governments to provide advanced refugee camps in the future. 3D printing, as the article points out, will allow people to take charge of getting what they need when they need it.

  • Stefano

    The only solution to the refugee crisis, and it’s a political one not an architectural one, is for the nations of the entire world to join together as one country.

    This means the free circulation of all people to go anywhere they wish to go, whenever they want – total freedom, no borders. A world culture would replace individual cultures. Renewable resources can be shared. True equality would be the goal for humankind.

    The attraction of certain countries over others is due to the difference in social liberty between them. Balance this and people will be happy where they are and will not feel the need to migrate.

    Banish government greed and you will eliminate the need for wars. In theory it all sounds so simple, naive and utopian. Perhaps humans aren’t capable of achieving it. These things will never happen and refugees will grow exponentially.

    I’m afraid we are f*cked as a species. Our planet will survive us; don’t worry about the planet it will be rid of our parasitic race of greedy, selfish spongers and thrive once again. We are all too ensconced in the consumerist age to ever want to have less or equal.

    • spadestick

      Haters gonna hate, but people need to eat. And while they’re at it, in a nice comfy place with air-conditioning with free WIFI.

      No borders means no nation. Some cultures are incompatible with other cultures; there is no getting along. The culture of murder, rape or cannibalism for instance.

      • Lil’Ditty

        Murder isn’t a culture with a border. I don’t believe any cultures are incompatible, but variety is beautiful. Mixing all of the colours of the rainbow makes it rather dull.

        • spadestick

          What you believe is inconsequential. Facts are louder than beliefs.

          • Stefano

            Hater? Yes, I do hate what humans are doing to each other and to the planet.

            Your point about mixing cultures is valid though and reinforces my point about our demise as a species whether we segregate or join. The only hope we’ve got, truly, is that we all get along and adapt to a new world culture. But this will never happen because intellect and greed will prevent it. Perhaps, as evidence supports, we are in the late stages of the evolution of homo sapien and neither technology or architectural solutions will help.

  • Stefano

    True equality would be the goal for mankind…

    • Biclone

      Trying to achieve true equality will destroy the human race. Example, any Communist nation such as Cuba (where I was born and raised), North Korea etc. Cultures get washed out (neutralised) and the human being becomes more selfish, more hateful and ironically more consumerist driven when given true individual freedom once they have opportunity to leave the country.

      You can catch a glimpse of such consumerist phenomenon (caused by forced equality) where I currently live, Miami. Cubans arriving are far more inclined to get in over their heads (financially and materialistically) compared to other cultures precisely because of their suppression and mandated equality in their country.

      • Stefano

        Trying to achieve true equality might be our only hope. Inequality is destroying the human race. I’m not advocating communism, as your example suggests, more convivialism. This forced equality you describe exists because of the differences between cultures, hence the desire to ‘have what they have’. It’s going to take the collective will of everyone to achieve a state of equilibrium, which is probably why it won’t happen. Humans? We don’t have it in us.

        • Biclone

          The forced equality I was referring to comes from single culture driven by countries such as Cuba. In my country you are forced to be at the same level as everyone else.

          That’s precisely why Cuba is so corrupt and so twisted in terms of human dignity and morale. People just give up on life and realise that the system that is looking out for them is nothing but a joke.

  • Stefano

    Dear Dezeen, if you are going to make changes to what I post then do so with consistency. Please replace my typo in the first paragraph where I wrote ‘inequality’ with ‘equality’. It’s obvious that it’s a typo!

  • Alvin Tostig

    Better yet, NATO secures and protects a huge chunk of Syria. There, Kilian and planners of his magnitude design great cities and economies for the Syrians in Syria in keeping with the Syrian vernacular. A new Syria, authentic.

  • David

    Shelter for those with none is always with us. So many initiatives, so many good ideas, so many genuine people, and the rest… YET BUGGER ALL HAPPENS ad nauseam. Politics, governments and vested interests always get in the way.

    So people, why don’t we all get together under one banner and sort this mess out? I’m prepared, for one, to put my head above the parapet and say I CAN DO IT. So, if you read this, will YOU be the second one to stand up? I’ll lead for now, until someone else says they can do better. COME ON HUMANITY, GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER.

    I’m tired of hearing the same old arguments as to why we can’t. Together we can.

    Yours in extreme frustration,


  • Puya

    The main points here are that these are not temporary shelters and that the refugees need to be involved in the process of providing shelter to both make it economically viable and also socially sustainable.

    If we adopt these as principles, then one of the best solutions out there that responds to costs and efforts is Cal-Earths’s approach. Here is a solution that’s super cheap to build, performs great in various environments, and involves the refugees in building a community that is built fast but is build to last and provides way more than temporary housing can ever provide:

    • Klein

      I think the advent of 3D printing can provide a beautiful service to refugee camps, especially in housing.

  • “Refugee camps are the “cities of tomorrow”, according to one of the world’s leading aid experts.”

    The not-so-funny thing about such statements is the fact that the “expert” doesn’t see Europeans or Americans as occupants of those so-called cities of tomorrow. People don’t leave their native lands to venture into the wild and become refugees. Political madness from the so-called Western world has a LOT to do in creating wars all over the place, funnily enough never where their own people live…

    Isn’t it time for these “aid agencies” to start telling their governments to stop creating wars and “manufacturing” refugees?

    Or is all this part of a “business model” where everybody makes their profits.

    • Klein

      Good point. I somehow wonder if the 5000+ air strikes this year alone in Syria, the training of numerous terrorist groups from both Western and Arab nations, the military invasion and occupation of millions of people for a decade and a half and forces multiplied by a century of Western-backed dictators has anything to do with the recent flow of migrants fleeing these same countries. Wait, that’s exactly it.

      All of these people are refugees because the big military powers can’t quite wrap their head around essential human empathy.

      • Trent

        Thanks Obama!

  • X

    The problem is their religion. If they can give up their religion, they would be welcomed.

  • Maxx Headroom

    He totally ignores the problem and only focuses on the symptoms. What needs to be addressed and dealt with is the reason that they’re fleeing their country in the first place. Most of the time it’s because the USA is using its proxy armies (ISIS, Al Nursa, Daesh, Al-Qaeda, etc.) to force a regime change. Fix the problem and the symptoms go away.

  • Mark Coffman

    The problem that refugees have is that what they want is largely illegal. Opportunities in a place exist because of the legal and linguistic systems were put in place historically by the population there. One can’t expect to move, then succeed, then over-throw those systems with your own, that have brought one *no success* originally.

    Then they want to go back to their countries of origin to live after they after they succeeded in taking advantage of opportunities in the new host country.

    This makes no sense and is illegal again as international sovereignty demands that their host country’s government do interfacing with one another. So refugees need to be disabused of erroneous thinking when then they arrive and if they can’t be, they need to be sent back to their place of origin.

    Actually, there is a system in place to already do this called an immigration system, and with it citizenship is on the road there. We cannot afford to allow the build-up of large groups of people in a population that have uncorrected illegal
    ideas about their future and paths there.

    If you want to change the legal system you are going to have to get a lawyer. A country’s opportunities for success should not be open to predation.

    The other thing is sending them back to their place of origin. If they are the product of overpopulation this is the only fair way to handle the situation. It is their predecessors that did not handle things correctly and they need to go back and develop their own opportunities and let failure attributions and events fall where they may.

    Concept of a “safety-valve” does not exist under the constraining shadow of long-term exponential population growth.

  • David Stanley

    No no the cities of tomorrow will be stack and pack ’em. This squalor will be history along with the people in them. As dire as that is, it is what is coming. They will murder as many as they can through wars, poisons, etc…

  • Trent

    Klein, when you grow up in a Communist, oppressive country the way me and family did for nearly 32 years and come to the US and finally get the right to eat red meat without fearing getting eight years in jail for doing so, you let me know.

    Meanwhile, continue believing what your selective side tells you to believe and you will soon find yourself enslaved along with millions of other innocent souls that will ultimately pay the price thanks to your impressive talent of ignorance.

    • Klein

      That’s assuming the US isn’t an oppressive country, based on your experience of having been in an another oppressive country. Not only are other perspectives outside your own thinking merely deluded, but you personally hold me responsible for the life of millions of people. Nice.

      • Trent

        I’m not assuming anything. I actually experienced it first hand along with most refugees in this country. Upward monolito in this country (for refugees) is light years faster than in any other country in the world (that’s an actual fact).

        Might be an inconvenient truth for you to digest, so you resort to the typical tactic of attack rather than being open and listening to people who don’t have an agenda and have actual experience on the topic.

        • Klein

          I would hope that there is some access to upward mobility for anyone, especially refugees, in the US – considering it is so good at creating the violent conditions from which so many of the world’s refugees come from. Decades long, and destructive actions in the Middle East, Africa, Yugoslavia, training death squads of genocide in El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua.

          There’s many well-documented books on the sheer number of wars that the US has engaged against other people. It’s no secret.

          It’s also true that the country enjoys relatively good freedoms, though the extension doesn’t seem to apply outside of national boundaries.

  • Fren

    Based on most of the comments one can conclude that had it been up to most of you the native Indians would’ve have been coined anti-immigrant and forced to embrace living in a multicultural forest. What the heck is the difference between you and the European settlers you all despise so much?

  • Brita Fay

    There are better solutions! Companies like Lada Cube (http:/ are perfect solutions for refugee temporary housing. These products offer highly energy efficient walls, which are 134% more energy efficient (heating and cooling), assemble in minutes with the use of one tool, and can be easily reconfigured and or relocated. Here is a sample of how quickly these units can go together:

  • Meristel Shaw

    Sounds like the kind of talk we used to hear in US back in the days of “the projects” built to house the poor. Failed concept then, and will fail now.

  • Zlatka Damjanova

    The towns of the future? Is our future connected with war and dictatorships? We must remove the cause, not improve in appearance the results and legitimise, and make them more beautiful and comfortable.

    Thereby we stabilise inhumanity, terror and exploitation as processes of the future instead of fighting against them politically and extinguish. The word “refugee” already interprets as a sort of failure – not from the running away victims, but from the silent neighbours as a spectator, an observing audience and with it – accomplices.

  • James Mason

    The old imperialism worked for these countries. Instead of bringing the immigrants to Europe we should be taking Europe to the immigrants. Bring back Ian Smith. When United Fruit Company ran Central American those people had jobs, schools, society. Now the gangs run things and the average citizen has to migrate illegally to the USA for a decent life. What about the idiots in the former Yugoslavia? Put Austro-Hungary back in charge. Those people are happier with the hob-nailed jackboot of a foreign power placed firmly on the back of their neck, pushing their face down into the manure pile. Some ethnic groups are incapable of self-rule.

  • kennethone

    “Help Germany out of this crisis” by increasing the population and building infrastructure to house more residents? Has this person ever considered that any kind of population growth anywhere in the world is completely destructive to our environment and the human race?

    This is the kind of wishful thinking that would worsen the conditions of everyone. And that’s not even considering that most of the emigrants are religiously bent on dominating the world.


    The city’s don’t work. I equate them to the gigantic Ponzi scheme. At some point even modern technology won’t feed us. Water is recycled by earth and if used correctly won’t be a problem. America has been the point of most prosperity. We are beyond our point of saturation.

    Even with the methods to feed we have used things that now cause problems. As population grows the problems will grow to the point that nature will correct the problem. We have seen it before with the plague and wars. The adaptable will survive. The genetically strong will survive. Until we reach that point life will only get worse. We have the land mass to support our population but what we don’t have are people willing to work for their bread.

    I have had better food than most growing up on a farm every summer. At seventy-five I have no high blood pressure or cholesterol or any of the other problems suffered by people half my age. It is the food and preservatives needed to keep them edible while they ship them. Profits do have a roll in causing the problems. Man will have no viable answer. Nature must take its course

  • Jeannette Petrik

    Disappointing. Dezeen included the reproduction of designs from Mari’s Autoprogettazione by designers and refugee craftsmen in Berlin but doesn’t mention the project’s name. It’s CUCULA.