ARC 606-1– Arch Studio Inclusive Design: Rethinking Resettlement: Strategies for Housing Buffalo's Refugee Population

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Course Details

Course No.: 17514

Department: Architecture

Semester: 2016 Spring

Location: TBD – TBD

Meeting Day(s): Tuesday, Thursday

Meeting Time: 1:30PM - 7:20PM

Faculty: Ozay

The process of refugee resettlement in a new country is often traumatic and highly bureaucratic. In the US, which admits about 70,000 refugees per year, the last step of the resettlement process is handled by local non-profit agencies. In Buffalo, there are four such agencies, working to ease the transition of refugees into a new culture through one-on-one ground work, language courses, and other collective orientation programs.

Buffalo’s West Side and Black Rock neighborhoods are some of the best examples of how refugee populations can infuse vitality into distressed urban districts. In fact, highly dependent on availability of affordable and adequate housing, these areas have already become prohibitive due to rising rent. Set to receive about 1,200 to 1,500 refugees per year in the next few years, Buffalo needs to rethink the question of refugee resettlement in a more holistic manner. In this framework, we will look at two different forms of housing:

  1. Temporary housing (the “Welcome House”):

The first few weeks of arrival are often chaotic for many refugees, potentially delaying access to long-term housing. To ease that transition, an ideal scenario would be to provide refugees with temporary housing for several weeks, during which a more effective orientation may be possible.