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Not only politicians are looking for solutions to ease the refugee crisis. Architects are also devising ways to integrate new arrivals that avoid ghettos arising on city limits while also fostering urban regeneration.
One fixture in the pictures that went round the world in the recent week of violent clashes outside a refugee shelter in Heidenau, Saxony, was the blue-and-yellow “Praktiker” sign, left over from the building’s days as a DIY center. It was repurposed by local authorities at short notice after heavy rain turned the refugee tent camp in nearby Chemnitz into a mud pit.
Other housing solutions found in recent weeks for the influx of refugees include an airdome near Berlin’s main station (dubbed the Caredome by its manufacturer), former barracks, banks and psychiatric clinics, with even the disused Tempelhof airport under consideration as temporary accommodation.
Equally improbably, IKEA is now manufacturing flat-pack shelters in partnership with the UN and the non-profit group Better Shelter.
“Approximately 50 Better Shelters were delivered to UNHCR and the Red Cross in FYR of Macedonia a few weeks ago,” says Märta Terne from the organization. “They have been put up at two sites in Skopje, functioning as transit shelters for asylum seekers waiting to travel onwards to other destinations in Europe. Over 300 shelters will be shipped to Greece within a matter of days. We have noticed a huge increase in enquiries from organizations in Europe during the summer, as a direct effect of the large stream of men, women and children fleeing to Europe via the Mediterranean Sea from the Middle East and from Africa.” […]