Designing a Solution:

The innovative design consists of a U-shaped compound, and is based on the principle of compact development. The model comprises at the first level a family area which is the smallest planning unit of the settlement. The family plot area has a family shelter and offers a private living space with family latrine & shower with lockable doors, a kitchen and a small yard that could allow for small livelihood activities or for small livestock. Each compound is made up of 13 family plots is the most important unit of the settlement.

The compound is designed to promote a vision of belonging to a same community. Each compound will have adequate lighting to enhance protection and security as well as a minimal and convenient landscaping with multi-use pedestrian streets. The estimated capacity of a compound is 16 families and approximately 65 people total.


slideshow/The compound is designed to promote a vision of belonging to a same community.

The neighbourhood level is made up of 10 U-shaped compounds. At this level, there are water collection points, environmentally friendly waste disposal areas, and a cooperative garden with a pedestrian street. The estimated capacity of a neighborhood is 10 families of approximately 520 to 600 people.

The village level consists of 10 neighbourhoods. At this level, there will be an early child development centre, child friendly spaces, a religious worship, a palva tukul for community meetings or alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, spaces for community health workers and community protection teams, outreach services for health campaigns, registration and community services and an informal public gathering space. The estimated capacity for a village is 1,040 families of approximately 5200 – 6000 persons.



At the settlement level, the overall camp is made up of 6 villages and is designed to adapt to the innovative compact development approach. The model is based on a spatial planning concept that should reflect the cultural and traditional practices of persons of concern. While some infrastructure, such as health & nutrition centres, a food distribution centre, an SGBV centre, a multipurpose centre (for meetings, trainings, etc..) and primary schools are located within the camp, many services, such as food warehouses, market place, secondary schools and a vocational training centre will be located on the perimeter of the camp. This strategic placement of services will provide for and augment interaction with local settlements.

The new settlement solution will enable the provision of services to meet future needs both within the camp, the host community and upon the refugees’ return to their home country. The global vision of settlement structure will be at meso scale, with the creation of a socio-development dynamic that will ensure linkages between the people and provide services to the geographical area identified, including both the local population and the refugees.

Adequacy and Cultural Acceptability:

Four neighbourhoods have been prototyped and different groups of refugee households have been relocated to these neighbourhoods. The consultation sessions with the refugees had a very strong impact on the acceptability of the new location. It has been noted that residents have adapted quickly to the new setting and community design.

So far, the new design prototype is showing encouraging results on performance in line with protection and security aspects, as well as both cultural and practical use. The initial reaction of the refugees to living within the new neighbouhoods is positive. The residents are comfortable, as they have the services required to meet the needs of all family members and children have sufficient spaces for normal life.

It is anticipated that the prototype phase will contribute to evidence for design improvements and lessons learnt should there be an opportunity to conceptualize a standard camp design that could be applied in other contexts or locations. As feedback provided by refugees on cultural acceptability will be fully understood at the end of the process and evaluation period, our team has procured the services of a group of anthropologists to evaluate the cultural context of the project. The outcomes will be incorporated into the final project concept at the conclusion of project.

This is the second blog of a two-blog series. The first blog is focused on the challenge of designing an appropriate refugee community. 

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