THE MAKESHIFT TOWN

Refugee camps are seen and planned as a temporary solution to a temporary problem
but the reality is often more complex than that. In actual fact, “...the average lifespan
of a refugee camp is close to seven years, with some camps for Palestinian refugees still
on their original sites after more than 50 years” (Kennedy, 2005).
The temporary measures put in place in the initial stages of the emergency are
usually not adequate in the long term and require the intervention of experts.
Architects are perhaps uniquely placed to understand and better respond to the
challenges of camp design and yet remain largely removed from the process. Their
understanding of the design process would be beneficial in planning and designing
for the “impermanent permanence” of protracted displacement in refugee camps.
This thesis seeks to investigate the built environment of Kakuma Refugee Camp in
order to provide a basis for architects to understand the needs and challenges faced
when designing in such constrained circumstances and perhaps learn lessons in
tackling situations with limited resources. Ultimately, the knowledge generated by
this thesis could lead to a better standard of living for those whose circumstances
have led them to be consigned to oblivion in refugee camps.
 

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