Future refugee camps as ‘integrated sustainable settlements’. Case-Studies: Syrian Refugee Settlements in Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon


Chamma, Nasr


Mendoza Arroyo, Carmen


Rudolph-Cleff, Annette

Date of defense



235 p.


Universitat Internacional de Catalunya. Departament d'Arquitectura


This thesis outlines and highlights the advantages as well as the problems and shortcomings of the current approach of international humanitarian agencies and host governments to refugee camps and to the planning, design, management and development of refugee settlements. A comprehensive literature review sets out the historical development of thinking in these areas, highlighting key elements of different approaches and visions, lessons learnt and how the current UNHCR approach has been shaped and developed. This historical policy context then informs and shapes a comparative analysis of four case-study refugee camps currently in operation as part of the response scenarios of three neighboring host countries to large influxes of Syrian refugees. This empirical investigation informs a critical evaluation of the implementation of UNHCR guidelines in practice, with and by host governments, and the effects of this approach on refugees and hosting countries. Based on the combined results and conclusions of this analysis, we outline and propose a new paradigm of response and approach to planning, design, management and development of refugee settlements, in order to address the issues and problems identified through our analysis of the current model. Our proposal for 'Integrated Sustainable Settlements' in the last chapter aims to set out an approach which incorporates the advantages of the current UNHCR model for the emergency relief phase of refugee situations but which also addresses the need for a longer-term perspective and integrated planning of settlements in order to provide solutions that respond to the issues and limitations identified with the current UNHCR model. These ISS communities aim to create favorable situations for all stakeholders in refugee movements and crises, providing sustainable development opportunities for host countries and ensuring better integration, living conditions, human rights and quality of life for refugees. We identify possible limitations of the proposal but also its scope and viability, presenting a roadmap for moving towards this vision and towards a better future for refugees and hosting countries.


Refugees; Refugee camps; Host governments; Humanitarian NGOs; Integrated sustainable settlements; Urban integration; Urbanization


72 - Architecture

Knowledge Area



Doctoral Thesis_Nasr Chamma.pdf




L'accés als continguts d'aquesta tesi queda condicionat a l'acceptació de les condicions d'ús establertes per la següent llicència Creative Commons: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

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