Organic Growth: Sustainable Settlement Planning for Displaced Populations in Developing Countries

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Hoque, Shahida
Displacement , Refugees , Settlements , Refugee Camp , Climate Change , United Nations , Sustainable Development , Settlement Planning , Shelter Design , Sustainable Development Goals , Sustainable Planning , Environmental Impact Assessment , Emergency Response , Environmental Planning , Erbil , Internal Displacement , Internally displaced person , Iraq refugee camp , Vernacular Architecture , Participatory Planning , UNHCR , Forced Migration , Kawergosk Refugee Camp
Human displacement and climate change are two of the most critical global crises in the contemporary world, and they are highly interdependent. In order to mitigate the impact of temporary refugee camps or prolonged displacement settlements on the surrounding environment and the people housed within, a constructive planning approach should be adopted to advance sustainable settlement planning in accordance with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). The objective of this research is to identify planning and design principles that will guide the establishment of vibrant, dynamic communities that will positively contribute to the host country and urban context. The planning principles discussed and explored in this study are framed around the targets of SDG15 – life on land, SDG11 – sustainable cities and communities, and SDG7 – affordable and clean energy. Gaps in current approaches to displacement settlement developments are investigated, followed by evaluation of policies mandated by the United Nations and affiliated organizations. The three SDGs studied are discussed to expand upon the intent of each goal, and various practices adopted in order to achieve specified targets. A case study of an existing settlement at Kawergosk Refugee Camp is examined. The evolution of this settlement is tracked over three distinct phases, while the proposed approach to improve the site may be viewed as a 4th phase of development. Planning practices discussed in this thesis include the execution of a modified Environmental Impact Assessment, engaging in participatory planning and design at the human scale, and utilizing vernacular design to address a particular place at a specific moment in time by conducting site analysis and evaluating the existing context. Identifying environmental resources at the site level facilitates the use of vernacular design to reduce energy consumption and incorporation of appropriate technologies for renewable energy generation. Finally, implementing participatory planning and community engagement in achieving these processes promotes sustainable growth, progress, and maintenance of a settlement or refugee camp for displaced persons.
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