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Asylum

Lahti, Andreas LU (2009) AAHM01 20091
Department of Architecture and the Built Environment
Abstract
This project is set at the crossing of two burning topics of our time: the often ignored problematics of displaced people around the world; and the recently much more debated question of global warming. That these seemingly diverse thematics are deeply connected with each other becomes clear just by reading the IPCC* report from 2007 on global warming. As this report suggests, the real danger lies not in the potential flooding but in the potential production crisis. As the scientific community suggest that global warming will strike hardest on some of the worlds most vulnerable regions – several humanitarian organizations have warned that we run the risk of facing a global refugee crisis that can only be compared to that of Europe after... (More)
This project is set at the crossing of two burning topics of our time: the often ignored problematics of displaced people around the world; and the recently much more debated question of global warming. That these seemingly diverse thematics are deeply connected with each other becomes clear just by reading the IPCC* report from 2007 on global warming. As this report suggests, the real danger lies not in the potential flooding but in the potential production crisis. As the scientific community suggest that global warming will strike hardest on some of the worlds most vulnerable regions – several humanitarian organizations have warned that we run the risk of facing a global refugee crisis that can only be compared to that of Europe after World War II.

This is a situation that by itself evokes questions of responsibility, solidarity and humanitarianism. Sadly, awaiting the Copenhagen Climate Summit in December 2009, we see little evidence of a breakthrough towards sufficient actions against this threat. Even if the highest bid in these negotiations of mitigation of CO2 emissions would be accepted and followed – the agreement would only bee around half of what is suggested from the IPCC. At the same time we already face a distressing refugee situation. In Europe isolationist forces are gaining power in an alarming manner. This suggests that the EU will raise its borders even further – at a time when global leadership is desperately needed. The call for a plan B is urgent…

The project is located on international waters, outside the North-African coast on the border to EU at the Canary Islands. Here the situation of refugees has deteriorated in recent years; around 10.000 boat refugees reach the shores of the islands annually. How many casualties this traffic generates is impossible to know. But it is certain that thousand of desperate people risk their lives every year, crossing the waters in poorly equipped vessels.

Within this context, I try to develop a strategy where architecture can be used as a vehicle for discussing the alarming situation. The project title “Asylum” is twofold. It is first and foremost the safe harbor for the asylum seekers. But at the same time it is in a sense an asylum for the devastated nature that in the first place forced these people to leave their homelands. This strategy involves exploring new technologies for producing energy, water and food – rethinking our relation to nature. The project tries to open a new frontier for an offshore asylum with a high degree of self-sufficiency. This is not an overnight process as the scenario plays out over a longer period, where the initial phase is just as vulnerable and dependent as any other refugee camp, as nature responds to the induced process a more symbiotic relation occurs – making the refugees part of a solution and not only victims.

On the other hand the project seeks to start off another discussion – “what should life hold?” As architects we design much of the framework where modern life takes place. In doing so we also provide visions and dreams – collective and individual. What should these perceptions hold in a world with fewer resources? By providing a “What if” – as this project demonstrates a form of living under very constrained circumstances – we have a chance to see the present from another point of view, something highly needed in a time of tough challenges.

*Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change is the leading body for the assessment of climate change, established by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World
Meteorological Organization (WMO) (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Lahti, Andreas LU
supervisor
organization
course
AAHM01 20091
year
type
M1 - University Diploma
subject
keywords
boat refugees, intolerance, racism, development countries, third world, refugee crisis, climate crisis, displaced people, greenhouse gas, co2, global warming, refugee, asylum, climate change, development strategy, tourism, poverty, migration
language
English
id
1487272
date added to LUP
2011-01-18 14:54:46
date last changed
2011-01-18 14:54:46
@misc{1487272,
  abstract     = {This project is set at the crossing of two burning topics of our time: the often ignored problematics of displaced people around the world; and the recently much more debated question of global warming. That these seemingly diverse thematics are deeply connected with each other becomes clear just by reading the IPCC* report from 2007 on global warming. As this report suggests, the real danger lies not in the potential flooding but in the potential production crisis. As the scientific community suggest that global warming will strike hardest on some of the worlds most vulnerable regions – several humanitarian organizations have warned that we run the risk of facing a global refugee crisis that can only be compared to that of Europe after World War II.

This is a situation that by itself evokes questions of responsibility, solidarity and humanitarianism. Sadly, awaiting the Copenhagen Climate Summit in December 2009, we see little evidence of a breakthrough towards sufficient actions against this threat. Even if the highest bid in these negotiations of mitigation of CO2 emissions would be accepted and followed – the agreement would only bee around half of what is suggested from the IPCC. At the same time we already face a distressing refugee situation. In Europe isolationist forces are gaining power in an alarming manner. This suggests that the EU will raise its borders even further – at a time when global leadership is desperately needed. The call for a plan B is urgent…

The project is located on international waters, outside the North-African coast on the border to EU at the Canary Islands. Here the situation of refugees has deteriorated in recent years; around 10.000 boat refugees reach the shores of the islands annually. How many casualties this traffic generates is impossible to know. But it is certain that thousand of desperate people risk their lives every year, crossing the waters in poorly equipped vessels.

Within this context, I try to develop a strategy where architecture can be used as a vehicle for discussing the alarming situation. The project title “Asylum” is twofold. It is first and foremost the safe harbor for the asylum seekers. But at the same time it is in a sense an asylum for the devastated nature that in the first place forced these people to leave their homelands. This strategy involves exploring new technologies for producing energy, water and food – rethinking our relation to nature. The project tries to open a new frontier for an offshore asylum with a high degree of self-sufficiency. This is not an overnight process as the scenario plays out over a longer period, where the initial phase is just as vulnerable and dependent as any other refugee camp, as nature responds to the induced process a more symbiotic relation occurs – making the refugees part of a solution and not only victims. 

On the other hand the project seeks to start off another discussion – “what should life hold?” As architects we design much of the framework where modern life takes place. In doing so we also provide visions and dreams – collective and individual. What should these perceptions hold in a world with fewer resources? By providing a “What if” – as this project demonstrates a form of living under very constrained circumstances – we have a chance to see the present from another point of view, something highly needed in a time of tough challenges.

*Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change is the leading body for the assessment of climate change, established by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World 
Meteorological Organization (WMO)},
  author       = {Lahti, Andreas},
  keyword      = {boat refugees,intolerance,racism,development countries,third world,refugee crisis,climate crisis,displaced people,greenhouse gas,co2,global warming,refugee,asylum,climate change,development strategy,tourism,poverty,migration},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Asylum},
  year         = {2009},
}