Making Home(s) in Displacement

Critical Reflections on a Spatial Practice

Edited by Luce Beeckmans, Alessandra Gola, Ashika Singh, and Hilde Heynen

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Making Home(s) in Displacement critically rethinks the relationship between home and displacement from a spatial, material, and architectural perspective. Recent scholarship in the social sciences has investigated how migrants and refugees create and reproduce home under new conditions, thereby unpacking the seemingly contradictory positions of making a home and overcoming its loss. Yet, making home(s) in displacement is also a spatial practice, one which intrinsically relates to the fabrication of the built environment worldwide.

Conceptually the book is divided along four spatial sites, referred to as camp, shelter, city, and house, which are approached with a multitude of perspectives ranging from urban planning and architecture to anthropology, geography, philosophy, gender studies, and urban history, all with a common focus on space and spatiality. By articulating everyday homemaking experiences of migrants and refugees as spatial practices in a variety of geopolitical and historical contexts, this edited volume adds a novel perspective to the existing interdisciplinary scholarship at the intersection of home and displacement. It equally intends to broaden the canon of architectural histories and theories by including migrants' and refugees' spatial agencies and place-making practices to its annals. By highlighting the political in the spatial, and vice versa, this volume sets out to decentralise and decolonise current definitions of home and displacement, striving for a more pluralistic outlook on the idea of home.

Contributors: Fatina Abreek-Zubiedat (ETH, Zurich), Nurhan Abujidi (Zuyd University of Applied Sciences), Menna Agha (University of Oregon), Esra Akcan (Cornell University), Aikaterini Antonopoulou (University of Liverpool), Luce Beeckmans (Ghent University), Paolo Boccagni (University of Trento), Wafa Butmeh (independent architect / UN-Habitat), Somayeh Chitchian (Harvard University), Bruno de Meulder (KU Leuven), Anna Di Giusto (independent researcher), Maretha Dreyer (Hasselt University), Alessandra Gola (KU Leuven), Hilde Heynen (KU Leuven), Annorada Iyer Siddiqi (Barnard College-Columbia University), Irit Katz (University of Cambridge), Romola Sanyal (LSE), Ashika Singh (KU Leuven), Aleksander Staničić (TU Delft), Huda Tayob (University of Johannesburg), Layla Zibar (Brandenburg University of Technology / KU Leuven)

Ebook available in Open Access.
This publication is GPRC-labeled (Guaranteed Peer-Reviewed Content).

Rethinking the Intersection of Home and Displacement from a Spatial Perspective
Luce Beeckmans, Ashika Singh & Alessandra Gola


To Shelter in Place for a Time Beyond
Anooradha Iyer Siddiqi & Somayeh Chitchian

Towards Dwelling in Spaces of Inhospitality. A Phenomenological Exploration of Home in Nahr Al-Barid
Ashika Singh

Who/What Is Doing What? Dwelling and Homing Practices in Syrian Refugee Camps –The Kurdistan Region of Iraq
Layla Zibar, Nurhan Abujidi & Bruno de Meulder

In the Name of Belonging
Developing Sheikh Radwan for the Refugees in Gaza City, 1967-1982
Fatina Abreek-Zubiedat


At Home in the Centre? Spatial Appropriation and Horizons of Homemaking in Reception Facilities for Asylum Seekers
Paolo Boccagni

Bare Shelter. The Layered Spatial Politics of Inhabiting Displacement
Irit Katz

Refugee Shelters done Differently. Humanist Architecture of Socialist Yugoslavia
Aleksandar Staničić

Years in the Waiting Room. A feminist Ethnography of the Invisible Institutional Living Spaces of Forced Displacement
Maretha Dreyer


Gendering Displacement. Women Refugees and the Geographies of Dwelling in India
Romola Sanyal

Homing Displacements. Socio-Spatial Identities in Contemporary Urban Palestine
Alessandra Gola

Mediating between Formality and Informality. Refugee Housing as City-Making Activity in Refugee Crisis Athens
Aikaterini Antonopoulou

Making Home in Borgo Mezzanone. Dignity and Mafias in South Italy
Anna Di Giusto


News from the Living Room. Historiography and Immigrant Agency in Urban Housing in Berlin
Esra Akcan

The Nubian House. Displacement, Dispossession, and Resilience
Menna Agha

Trans-national Homes. From Nairobi to Cape Town
Huda Tayob

Static Displacement, Adaptive Domesticity. The Three Temporary Geographies of Firing Zone 918, Palestine
Wafa Butmeh

About the Displacement of Home
Hilde Heynen

Format: Edited volume - free ebook - ePUB

420 pages

Illustrated, full colour

ISBN: 9789461664099

Publication: January 03, 2022

Languages: English


Alessandra Gola is an architect and doctoral researcher at KU Leuven as well as the co-founder of The Yalla Project in Nablus, Palestine.
Ashika Singh is doctor in architecture and philosophy at KU Leuven.
Hilde Heynen is professor of architectural theory and history at KU Leuven.
Luce Beeckmans is assistant professor of architecture and urbanism in relation to migration and diversity at Ghent University.
In sum this book brings together a large variety of material on the making and unmaking of homes in displacement as a spatial practice. Forced displacement is the focus of most chapters of the book, but some deal with a broader set of displaced people. This is an important reminder that there is not necessarily a clear dividing line between the migration of those who seek work and those who seek asylum. Moreover, the book shows the merits of interdisciplinary research. Scholars, activists and architects involved in the (re)thinking of what it means to imagine, design and create ‘homes’ in contexts of human displacement were brought together.
Ilse van Liempt, Urban Studies, March 2023
Herbeluister op Klara Pompidou het gesprek met Luce Beeckmans:
"Soms gaat het over vrijwillige globetrotters maar in zijn nijpendste vorm gaat ontheemding over mensen op de vlucht voor vervolging, oorlog of klimaatverandering, en over asielzoekers die aankloppen op plekken waar hen niet altijd een warm onthaal wacht. Welke strategieën ontwikkelen deze ontheemde mensen om toch ergens een thuisgevoel te creëren? En wat kunnen overheden en architecten betekenen om de huisvesting te verbeteren en het thuisgevoel te bevorderen van mensen met een andere culturele achtergrond en van mensen die in existentiële nood verkeren?"

Met het boek 'Making Home(s) in Displacement, Critical Reflections on a Spatial Practice' belichten onderzoekers van over de hele wereld hoe vluchtelingen een thuis proberen te maken onder steeds weer veranderende omstandigheden. [...] In de essays wordt gepleit voor een positievere en opener houding van landen die vluchtelingen opvangen. De kritische relatie tussen thuis en ontheemding wordt hierbij belicht vanuit een ruimtelijk, materieel en architectonisch perspectief, oftewel de fysieke plek waar vluchtelingen worden gehuisvest en ontvangen. Omdat dit specifieke aspect nog nauwelijks wordt beschreven in de hedendaagse literatuur over vluchtelingen en ontheemding worden onconventionele onderzoeksmethoden niet geschuwd. De auteurs hopen hiermee tevens een lans te breken voor het doen van innovatiever veldonderzoek.
Anneloes de Koff,, 3 oktober 2022

This is a beautifully crafted book that brings together, in a constructive and novel manner, multiple spatial perspectives on homemaking in displacement. The structure of the book and the richness of the contributions make for a book I would be happy to recommend to both colleagues and students. By bringing in the material perspectives into the home and displacement literature the authors are helping to close a gap and consolidate an emerging field.
Cathrine Brun, Oxford Brookes University