Global displacement has surpassed that witnessed in the wake of World War II, and children remain the most impacted victims. At least 3 million Syrian children under the age of six have been traumatized by war, and more than half of all Syrian refugees are under the age of 18. With the average stay of refugees being 17 years–for many an entire childhood–Refugees, Resilience, and Public Space was established in 2016 to facilitate the design and construction of space for refugee children and young adults living in temporary encampments to play and interact. On the surface, the initiative was to build a playground. In actuality, it was a first step towards developing a transnational, collaborative, and replicable process to design and construct child-focused spaces in the context of conflict or natural disasters. Building upon the work of humanitarians and peacebuilders who provide food, water, shelter, healthcare, and educational support, this initiative introduced child-focused public spaces to support positive interactions, social cohesion, and healing.
Download the Syrian Initiative Report (PDF).
“Global Design Initiative for Refugee Children” is the recipient of a 2020 Collaborative Achievement Award from the American Institute of Architects.